UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
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FOR COLLECTING AND PRINTING
RELICS OF POPULAR ANTIQUITIES, &c.
THE YEAR MDCCCLXXVIII.
THE FOLK-LORE SOCIETY
MUSQUAKIE INDIANS OF
CATALOGUE OF MUSQUAKIE BEADWORK AND
OTHER OBJECTS IN THE COLLECTION
OF THE FOLK-LORE SOCIETY
MARY ALICIA OWEN
WITH EIGHT PLATES AND FIGURES IN THE TEXT
( UNIVERSITY )
9xtblishtb for tht
DAVID NUTT, 57-59 LONG ACRE
GLASGOW : PRINTED AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS
BY ROBERT MACI.EHOSE AND CO. LTD.
AT the meeting of the British Association at Toronto in
1897, a paper on the folklore of the Musquakie Indians
was received from Miss Owen, the author of the following
pages, who unfortunately was herself unable to be present.
After the meeting was over, the paper in question was,
with some others, forwarded by the recorder of Section
H (Anthropology) to me, for examination with a view to
publication by the Folk-lore Society. It was read at a
meeting of the Society in the course of the following
winter. But, while in some respects a valuable contri
bution to our knowledge of the tribe, it was short, and
lacked the details desirable in a scientific account of the
tribe. The writer was known to be intimately acquainted
with the Musquakies, and it was obvious that the paper
contained only a small part of the information she, and
probably she only, could give. The Council of the Society
therefore requested me to invite her to expand it. Accord
ingly I wrote to her. The result of the correspondence
was that she not only acceded to the wish of the Council,
but also with rare generosity offered to present to the
Society her collection of Musquakie beadwork and cere
monial implements. This collection had been slowly
accumulated during many years of direct personal inter
course with members of the tribe. The objects it con
tained were genuine products of native industry, and
implements actually used in the religious ceremonies of
the tribe. Many of them, indeed, had grown obsolete in
the gradual abandonment of the indigenous customs and
civilization ; and they were consequently impossible now
to obtain. The gift, therefore, was one of special, if not
unique, importance. The Council gratefully accepted an
offer so generous, only asking that Miss Owen would add
a formal Catalogue, to which her promised monograph
on the tribe might be prefixed by way of introduction
and further explanation.
The Collection reached the Society in the Spring of
1901. It was exhibited at a Joint Meeting of the Folk
lore Society and the Anthropological Institute held at
the rooms of the latter on the iQth June of that year; and
it was then placed in the University Museum of Archae
ology and Ethnology at Cambridge.
The Monograph and Catalogue now before the reader
complete the gift and ensure its permanent utility. The
anthropological student with this book in hand will need
no other reminder of the value of the collection for the
history of culture. Under the name of Sacs and Foxes
the Musquakies have played a part by no means con
temptible in the struggle against the white race and its
civilization. They have been beaten ; and they are now
a dying people. Their blood may be mingled with that
of their conquerors, and thus their life may in some
measure be perpetuated. But their ancient beliefs and
institutions are passing away for ever. We cannot recover
their details uncontaminated by European ideas. Miss
Owen's account, however, is hardly the less valuable for
that. It exhibits them as they were at the close of the
nineteenth century, and comprises the more important
traditions then preserved of their mythology and previous
history. Together with the collection, it affords us a
glimpse of the effect on the Musquakies of what Miss
Kingsley called in an expressive phrase " the clash of
cultures." The introductory paragraph of the Catalogue
describes the situation better than any words of mine
could do so. It should be read and read again by all
who desire to understand how archaic objects and archaic
ceremonies and sayings survive among civilized and bar
barous peoples alike ; for it enshrines the very secret of
Formal votes of thanks, such as have been passed by
the Society, express but a small part of the sense of
indebtedness which all students will feel towards Miss
Owen for thus placing her collection and her unrivalled
knowledge of the Musquakies at the service of science.
In the Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology
and Ethnology the objects will always be accessible for
study. It is the earnest wish of the Society, as well as
of the donor, that in this way the purpose of the gift
may be fulfilled.
At the suggestion of Dr. Haddon, Miss A. Kingston
made a large number of coloured copies of the bead-work
patterns and forwarded them to Miss Owen, in order that
the latter might endeavour to obtain further informa
tion, from the Musquakies concerning them. This Miss
Owen was kind enough to do, making a special journey
from her home, St. Joseph, Missouri, for the purpose ;
and much fresh and most valuable information was forth
coming, which would never have been recovered had it
not been for the trouble taken by Miss Kingston in
making the drawings. The Society is indebted to Dr.
Haddon not only for the original suggestion which elicited
this additional information, but also for preparing, with
Miss Kingston's assistance, the technical description of
the objects figured.
E. SIDNEY HARTLAND.
GLOUCESTER, %th August, 1904.
FOLKLORE OF THE MUSQUAKIE INDIANS.
I. MYTHICAL ORIGIN, - i
II. ACHIEVEMENTS AND FATE OF THE BROTHERS, - 12
III. LEGEND AND HISTORY, 17
IV. GOVERNMENT, - ... 25
V. BELIEFS, 35
VI. DANCES, 41
Religion Dance — Corn - Planting Dance — Totem
Dances — Green Corn Dance — The Woman Dance
(I-coo-coo-ah) — Bear Dance — Buffalo Dance — Dis
covery Dance — Young Dogs' Dance — Horses' Dance
— Scalp Dance — Dead Man's Medicine Dance — The
Young Servants' Dance — Birds' Dance — Presents
VII. BIRTH AND INFANCY, 63
VIII. PUBERTY. 67
IX. COURTSHIP AND MARRIAGE, - - 72
X. DEATH, BURIAL, AND GHOST-CARRYING, 77
XI. FOLK TALES, ... 87
Girls and Bear — The Grey Wolf and the Orphan
Boy— The Woman and the Tree-Ghost— The Man
and the Tree- Ghost— The Man and the Young
Girl— The Duck- Woman— The Woodpecker- Man—
Prairie-Chicken Woman— The Awl— The Girl-with-
Spots-on-her-Face— The Young Man that killed him
self and was made alive again.
CATALOGUE OF MUSQUAKIE BEADWORK
AND OTHER OBJECTS, 95
THE MUSQUAKIE INDIANS.
THE Musquakies, as they call themselves, Outagamies or
Foxes as they are known to the whites and to the other
Indian tribes within and without the great Algonquin
family to which they belong, say that they are descended
from a woman whom they call He-nau-ee (Mother). This
He-nau-ee came down from the Upper World in a storm,
the like of which has not been before or since, the sky
and the sea struck each other, and rocks were ground
into sand. When He-nau-ee fell into the water on her
back the storm ceased, an island, "green [or blue — one
word serves for the two colours] and fertile, with berries
ready ripened for her use, and trees with acorns to make
her bread, and sweet white roots easy to dig," rose up
under her. On it, she told her children, she lived for
eighty days. On the eightieth day she gave birth to
two sons, who grew to manhood in a few hours, received
some instruction from their mother, built a boat, and at
sundown paddled over to the mainland, leaving her
behind, because "she, the pleasant of speech and beauti
ful of face, looked from her eyes so terribly that they,
the unfearing, sweated with fear." When they touched
shore, they turned to see if she by magic was able to
2 Folk-Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
follow, and saw her instead sinking with her island
beneath the waves.
The Brothers ran a little way. When they stopped,
the larger, Hot Hand, said to the smaller, Cold Hand :
" I smell something I do not like ; let us stop and fight
with it." Cold Hand said : " Let us stop and fight with
it." Then each tore up a young tree, for many trees
grew on top of rocks in that place, stripped it of
branches, smoothed and shaped it with the finger-nails,
split the end with the eye [I don't know what this means,
nobody would explain], fitted-in stone torn by the hand
and bitten by the teeth, and made fast by the hair
from his scalp-lock. The hair was not enough, so they
felt poor in mind till a deer came, saying, " I give you,"
and gave them sinew from his leg. With the sinew the
stone was made fast, a good spear was made, for not
yet had the old women come to teach the Brothers to
The black thing was coming ; they smelled him. Cold
Hand said : " Shall I go ? " Hot Hand said : " The stink
ing meat is for me to take." He spat on his spear. It
was sharp ; it took the Black Wolf coming, in the throat,
in the breast, in the belly. Black Wolf could not make
medicine; he was very sick. He said: "Take the skin."
Hot Hand took the fine black skin. Naked, Black Wolf
ran away. Hot Hand hung the skin on a tree, he had
no wife to throw it to. Black Wolf, far ofT, danced and
sang his song ; the medicine cured him. At night he
stole the skin.
The Brothers went on with a bad heart; they wanted
the skin. After a while Cold Hand said : " I smell some
thing I do not like ; let us stop and fight with it." Hot
Hand said : " Let us stop and fight with it." Cold Hand
spat on his spear ; it was sharp ; it took Black Wolf
coming, in the throat, in the breast, in the belly. Black
Wolf was very sick. He said : " Take the skin." Cold
Mythical Origin. 3
Hand hung the skin on his spear. Black Wolf ran
away ; he danced, he sang his song ; the medicine cured
him. The Brothers slept; he tried to steal the skin.
The spear said : " Come up ! come up ! " Cold Hand
waked. Black Wolf ran away ; he was very cold.
Hot Hand said : " Give me the black skin. I took it."
Cold Hand gave it. They went on. Hot Hand made
the skin into a bundle; he tied it with grass, and with
grass bound it upon his back. They crossed a river.
Black Wolf was there ; his medicine made the water
black ; he hid in it, he followed the brothers, he cut the
grass ropes, he stole the skin, he made himself small, as
fish-spawn he went down the river. Hot Hand was on
the bank ; he felt his back, he was ashamed that the
skin was gone. He went on, not talking. When it was
night he put himself to dream ; he dreamed of the lake
into which the river flowed ; he saw Black Wolf in the
lake. He waked ; he went on with his brother. They
went to the lake. Hot Hand fought with Black Wolf;
he was at the water's edge ; he had no time to make
medicine, to change. Hot Hand took him in the throat,
in the breast, in the belly. Black Wolf gave up the
skin. At night he stole it from under Hot Hand's head.
He made himself small like a young water-rat ; he hid
in the mud of the lake.
In the morning the Brothers went on ; they went along
the lake shore, for they could see the town of old women.
They had no boat, no tree to make a boat. They made
signs to the old women, but they came not.
In the day Cold Hand said : " I smell the wolf; let
us stop and fight with him." He struck his spear into
mud. ^He brought up Black Wolf on his spear ; he
spoiled his medicine. The spear made the rat-skin a
wolf-skin ; he took it away with him. At night he hung
it on the spear. Black Wolf could not take it off.
In the morning Hot Hand said : " Give it to me ; it
4 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
is mine." Cold Hand gave it to him. They walked by
the lake. Black Wolf made himself into a vapour. The
vapour rolled before the wind ; it rolled past the Brothers ;
it took away the skin Hot Hand had tied on his shoulders.
The vapour rolled over the lake ; it changed to a louse;
the louse went under the wing of a duck swimming on
the lake. The duck swam to the middle of the lake ;
she dived to the bottom. Cold Hand said : " Let Black
Wolf go ; he has had enough." Hot Hand was ashamed.
He said : " Go first, brother ; you are first." Cold Hand
would not go first.
They stopped ; they called the old women. The old
women would not help them. When the old women
would not help them, the bird Hee-wa-nee-ka-kee came
flying out of the woods with a twig ; she beat on the
twig till it was hollow ; she blew on it with her breath
till it was large ; she made it a boat. The Brothers
took the boat ; they made an oar ; they rowed on the
lake. A dreadful large snake was in the lake ; it rose
up through the water ; it showed its hard, white scales
below its head with deer's horns ; it had eyes dreadful
with fire ; it had teeth ; it spat fire ; it burned the
Brothers. Hot Hand, his tears had not come ; he made
medicine with spittle ; he spat in the snake's mouth ; he
spat on his burns ; he spat on his brother's burns ; he
sent the snake to the bottom of the lake ; he kept it
there ; he was well, his brother was well.
They went to the land ; they saw old women digging
in a field. " Give to us," they said to the old women.
The old women said, " Yes " to them. To themselves
the old women said : " These men are meat for the pots.
Let us kill them/' The Brothers heard them, but gave
no sign (kept a hard face). "Take from the heap of
roots on the ground," said the old women. They had
bones in their hands to strike with. The Brothers bent
down ; they had their spears over their shoulders. The
Mythical Origin. 5
spears caught the blows of the old women. The old
women turned to stone.
The Brothers went on.
They saw other old women. The old women were
cooking. " I smell something I like," said the Brothers ;
"give it." "Yes," said the old women. To themselves,
the old women said : " These men are meat for the pots.
Let us kill them." The Brothers heard them. " Take
from the pot," said the old women. They had firebrands
in their hands to strike with. "We are meat for the
pot," said the Brothers ; " we will go in, if you will go
in when we come out." " We will go in when you come
out," said the old women. The Brothers went into the
pot, they cooled it with their breath, for their tears had
not yet come. They stayed in the pot. Then they said :
" It is time to get out." They jumped out. They said
to the old women : " Get in, it is your turn." The old
women were afraid, they would not go into the pot.
The Brothers pushed them in. The old women were
burned up, all but their thigh-bones. The thigh-bones
the ,Brothers took with them.
They came to two old women winnowing parched
corn, tossing it in a buffalo- robe. " I smell something I
like ; give it," said the Brothers. " Yes," said the old
women. To themselves they said : " These men are meat
for the pot. Let us kill them." The Brothers heard,
they kept a hard face. The old women lowered the
robe to the ground. The corn was in the middle of it.
" Take," said the old women. The Brothers stepped on
the robe. The old women tossed it high, brought it hard
against the ground. The Brothers' spears struck the
ground first, the Brothers came down softly on their feet.
The spears touched the old women, turned them into
The Brothers went on, taking the robe with them.
They came to two old women pounding meal. Their
6 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
mill was a hollow log set on a stone. They pounded
with hickory staves. " I smell something I like ; give it,"
said the Brothers. "Yes," said the old women. To
themselves they said : " These men are meat for the pot.
Let us kill them." The Brothers kept a hard face. The
old women took the staves from the mill. " Take from
the mill," said the old women. The Brothers stooped
over the mill. The staves of the old women struck hard,
but the spears caught the blows. The old women were
thrown into the meal, they became weevils in the meal.
The Brothers took the mill, they poured out the meal,
they covered the top of the mill with the buffalo-hide,
they played on the hide with the thigh-bones, they went
on, drumming and singing.
Beasts and birds heard the drumming and singing; they
came to the Brothers. The ones with bad heart fought
the Brothers. The Brothers killed many. Some went
away to make medicine for the hurts they had. The
Brothers had no hurts.
They went into a valley. Four days and four nights
(four suns, four sleeps) they were in the valley. Some
thing came at night, it tore the drum-head, it tore the
clothes of the brothers, it growled, it was Moo-in, the
bear. They awakened, they ran, they saw no bear, by
day they saw a fat old man sitting. They said : " Uncle,
did you see a bear?" He looked at his paunch, he said,
" Grandfathers, I see only myself." The last morning,
Cold Hand said : " Brother, I see a fat bear at night, I
see a fat man in the morning. There is grease in the
tracks of the bear, let us see if there is grease in the
tracks of the man." " Let us see/' said Hot Hand. So
when they came up to the man, and he said, " I see
only myself," Cold Hand said : " See my spear, it is
asking for you " ; and he made the spear stand alone, he
made it walk, he made it bend toward the old man. The
fat old man ran, there was grease in his tracks. By
Mythical Origin. 7
that they knew he had a devil in his nose, that he could
have many shapes at night. Cold Hand ran, he caught
the fat old man, he killed him before he could make
medicine, he scalped him.
The Brothers went on.
Hot Hand said : " I struck first." [Meaning that he
touched the dead body first. This blow is the coup which
entitles whosoever gives it to the scalp, without any
consideration for the one who dealt the death-stroke.]
Cold Hand gave him the scalp.
They came to a wigwam made of elm-bark. An old
man was in the wigwam by a great fire. He watched
a stone pot that was in the midst of the fire. " I smell
something I like ; give it," said the Brothers. " Take
it," said the old man, " if you will swallow as I pour,
without cooling." " Give it," they said. The old man
poured from the pot for Hot Hand, for Cold Hand. They
drank, they had a glad heart, the broth did not burn
them. " Let us make a trial," said the old man. " If I
win, all is mine ; if you win, all is yours." The Brothers
said : " Let us make a trial." They tied the door, they
piled wood on the fire. The old man sweated. The
old man smoked. He made medicine, but he panted
and thirsted. His roll of furs (on which he sat) was
singed. The Brothers said : " We are not warm enough."
They piled wood on the fire. The water in the jar
boiled. The old man drank it, groaning. He screamed.
" We are not warm enough," said the Brothers. They
piled wood on the fire. The old man became a crow,
he flew up toward the smoke-hole. [A wigwam has no
outlet for the smoke of the fire built on its floor, but a
hole in the centre of the roof.] The smoke strangled
the crow, he fell and was burned up. The wigwam
caught fire and burned up. The Brothers jumped out of
the flames, they waited till the fire went out. They
stirred the ashes with their spears, they found a crow's
8 Folk-Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
heart, they found a crow's neck-bone. For good luck,
they took them.
They went on.
At night, they slept in a wood. The trees were devils,
they walked, they became men and women, the women
made love to the Brothers ; when the Brothers would
not have them, they fought, the men-devils fought to
help them. The Brothers could not make a fire to drive
away the devils, the brush would not burn, but they
fought with their spears, they overthrew, they pierced.
By day, the devils were trees. Then the Brothers brought
wood, they burned the trees. Then they made medicine,
they made themselves well. They slept.
In the morning, they went on.
They saw an antelope. All day, they ran after it. It
jumped over a ravine, it was gone. The Brothers jumped,
they fell into the ravine, they fell through the bottom
of it into a cave. The cave had in it the Ancestors
[the ancestral animals]. The Ancestors sat round a fire.
The Brothers saluted them, beginning with the Musquakie
(Fox) and ending with the Ah-tha-ba-nee (Raccoon).
Cold Hand saluted first. When the Brothers went down,
Hot Hand fell on his back, Cold Hand fell on his feet,
he saluted. Grandfather Fox (Hee-to-gwaw-Mus-qua-kie)
saluted before the other Animals. Grandfather Raccoon
(Hee-to-gwa- Ah-tha-ba-nee) saluted last. These were the
Ancestors, the Animals : Fox (Mus-qua-kie), Eagle
(Sclar), Bear (Moocha), Beaver (Ha-ma-qua), Fish (Na-ma-
thee), Antelope (Esqua-ba-qua-wah-see-qua-thee-way),
Let us make them ma-coupee [full of magic, fetish.
Can't translate exactly]. Grandfather Fox said it.
" No," said the other Animals. " They will know too
much, they will trouble us."
"They will help us," said Grandfather Fox.
"They will help us," said Grandfather Antelope. " It
Mythical Origin. 9
is promised. They will have a new place. I dreamed
" Make them ma-coupee" said the Animals.
Grandfather Raccoon filled the pipe and gave it to
Grandfather Fox. Grandfather Fox smoked. He gave
the pipe to Grandfather Eagle. The Animals smoked
in turn, Grandfather Raccoon last. He offered the pipe
to Cold Hand. Cold Hand said: "To him first, he is
Elder Brother." Hot Hand had it first, he passed it in
his right hand across his left to Cold Hand, he fell down
asleep. At the first whiff, Cold Hand trembled ; at the
second, he was faint ; at the third, he was blind ; at the
fourth, he was breathless. He handed back the pipe as
he was falling, he slept.
The Animals cut out their hearts, they cut out their
livers, their lungs, their stomachs, their bowels, they puri
fied all with water and the smoke of medicine, they
returned them to the bodies. The Brothers slept a moon
(twenty-seven days). They had dreams. The dreams
told of the people to come, the Brothers' people. They
awoke, they stretched themselves, they stood up. The
Animals said : "Ho, Brothers." They were brothers to
the Animals [received as equals by the Animals]. Their
hearts were large, they were happy ; they were sad in
knowledge, their tears came. They remembered their
dreams, they stood in a dark place together and talked
of the dreams, they asked the Animals : " Do we go
back ? Do we go to the upper world ? " " Not now," said
the Animals, " you are not finished." The Animals made
the Brothers fast nine days. The Brothers could not
feel the sun, the Animals told them the days. The
Brothers dreamed. They dreamed of their medicine [the
fetish each was to wear under his left arm]. The fast
ended, the Brothers were instructed. They learned the
ceremonials for puberty, they learned the laws for the
government of a tribe, they learned the laws of the secret
io Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
societies, they learned the dances, they learned all good
magic, they learned to counteract the bad magic that
had been taught to the tribes already made, by little
devils (stha-och) and great devils (meitche-manito-og).
Eighty days from the day of the chase of the ante
lope, the Brothers were sent back. They were sent back
to the Middle World. An eagle came down through
the smoke-hole. The Animals called the eagle, they set
the Brothers on him. The eagle flew up, he flew down,
he sat under a tree. "Strip off the branches," he said to
the Brothers. " Make a house of the branches." He
flew away. They stripped off the branches, they made
a house of the branches, a woven wee-ka-ya-up. They
sat down in it, they said: "What is this for?" When
they had sat awhile, Hot Hand said : " I got a louse
from that bird." He scratched a lump swelling on his
shoulder. " I got a louse from that bird," said Cold
Hand. He scratched a lump on his side. The lump
broke. Hot Hand took out a boy. The lump broke.
Cold Hand took out a girl. The boy was the size of a
duck's egg. The girl was the size of a plover's egg.
They grew to be man and woman that day, they were
given each other in marriage. In a year they had seven
sons and seven daughters. From the seven sons and
seven daughters came the seven clans of the Musquakies.
The seven clans are named for the seven ancestral animals.
The boy that was the first of the clan started the
name. The seven boys that came first could each take
the shape of his Animal (Totem). The oldest boy was
a Mus-qua-kie, he gave his name to his clan, to the
tribe; the others were under him. His father was Hee-
to-gwaw (Grandfather), his mother was Hee-coo-nee
The Brothers taught the boy and girl. They told
them all the laws of the Animals. The boy and girl
learned all the laws. Then the Brothers went on. They
Mythical Origin. 1 1
went away to kill or conquer all the demons (wo-skay-
pee-sku-nee-og), all the little devils1 (stha-wah) and all
the great devils (mitche-manito-wah), they left the boy
and girl to build up the tribe.
Creatures that make diseases in individual bodies. Great devils bring
wars and pestilence, all the great evils. Demons are vampires, wer-wolves,
ACHIEVEMENTS AND FATE OF THE
THE Brothers went on. They went on to kill or
conquer all the demons and devils. They saw a demon.
He had no body; he was all head. He had teeth like
bread-stones [the granite boulders on which the women
mould their bread]. His mouth was a man's length, his
nose high as a wild-cat's back, his eyebrows were great
as a wolf-skin, his hair like a bull buffalo's hung down,
his eye-holes eyeless a shield's size were. He slept.
He slept where he wallowed a hole, his mouth open, his
nose scenting prey a day's journey off. The sun made
him sleep. He slept from sun up to sundown if no
prey came. His prey was young children. He drew
them by his tongue. His tongue had a snake's head
at the end. He chewed the children, he sucked the
blood, he spat them out. They became little devils,
little devils that fly into the nose, the throat, the belly,
and make the people sick and of bad heart, little devils
no man can see but the medicine-man.
The Brothers sounded the war-cry — the cry the
Animals taught them. The demon was far off, his
name was Kee. He heard the Brothers ; he rolled over
hills and hollows four days. He came to them. Hot
Hand struck first. Kee sang his song. The spear
struck his teeth, it jumped back, it jumped back many
Achievements and Fate of the Brothers. 1 3
times. Cold Hand shed a tear on his spear ; the spear
told him to shed it. He drove the spear into Kee's
mouth. He struck, all Kee's upper teeth fell in. He
struck, all Kee's lower teeth fell in. He struck, Kee's
tongue fell in ; it leaped from his mouth ; it hissed ; it
slipped in among the bushes. Hot Hand counted coup
on Kee ; but Kee was not dead, he rolled away, bleeding.
His blood made biting, small beasts. Cold Hand said
to Kee : " Go where the sun is not." Kee went there.
He was the first to go. Now all bad men go. Hot
Hand said : " I took him, he is mine." " I have dreamed.
He is to you always," Cold Hand said. Cold Hand did
not dream, he heard the spear talk.
The Brothers went on.
They fought more demons, they sent them to the place
where the sun was not. The demons were blood-suckers.
A demon was a leg, tall as a tree. He trampled
people, the foot sucked blood. A demon was an arm,
long as a blacksnake, the hand sucked blood. A demon
was an ear, great as a hillside. The ear sucked in
children, it sucked their blood. They fell out dry as
old wood, they had moss on them, they were devils.
All fought. The Brothers sent them to the place.
The Brothers went on.
They fought three women. The women had no
heads. They had eyes in their breasts, they had
mouths in their bellies. The women had spears. They
fought hard ; they gave out an odour. The Brothers fell
down from the odour. Cold Hand said "Strike!" to his
spear. The spear struck, it killed the women. The
ghosts went to the place.
The Brothers went on.
They took many demons, many great devils, many
small devils. The demons and devils could not hide
well enough. The Brothers said : " All the Petuns, all
the Ho-da-su-nee, all the people feared the demons and
14 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
the devils, let us go to them for our presents." The
people hated the Brothers ; they were jealous ; the
medicine-men made them jealous, they made them afraid.
The people called all the demons and devils left, all
the medicine-men, all the birds and beasts that knew
sorcery [bad medicine, ma-cou-pee-sku-nee\. They went
to a wood-of-trees-that-walk. They stayed all night ;
they had a council without a fire. Then they dared
the Brothers with shouts. The wood-of-trees-that-walk
would fall on the Brothers. The Brothers ran to the
shouts. They met three women. The women gave
them bows, and arrows that came back to the bows.
The Brothers conquered many with the bows and
arrows. They stood far off from the wood-of-trees-that-
walk, and shot with the arrows that came back to them.
They sang their song ; they made the demons and
devils they shot go to the place. The other demons
and devils and the people ran away from the wood-of-
trees-that-walk. They ran away at night. In the
morning they had a council They sent away Mar-
ko-ga, the owl, to find the demons, Chee-nau-og, the
makers of storms, eaters of men, with ice hearts, with
hands cold as frost The owl found the Chee-nau-og,
he told them, then he was ashamed, he hid himself,
he comes by day no more. The Chee-nau-og came ;
they fought the Brothers. Hot Hand conquered
many ; Cold Hand could not conquer. The Chee-nau-og
made a storm — rain and snow — between the Brothers.
They killed Cold Hand. Hot Hand did not know. He
sang his song ; he went on. Cold Hand did not come
Hot Hand went on.
He waited. He built a house there. He sat in the
house looking out.
He searched. He could not find Cold Hand. The
Chee-nau-og, running away, threw snowstorms behind
Achievements and Fate of the Brothers. i 5
them; he could not find Cold Hand in the storms. His
heart was weak ; he could not make medicine strong
enough to find Cold Hand. If he had found the body
he could have called back the soul. He went back to
his house he made. He sat down in the door ; he
wept and groaned. He sobbed and sighed, till the
earth trembled and trees fell down. He sighed till the
flat earth drew up into hills; he wept till his tears
made rivers between the hills.
The people were frightened. They said to the
medicine-men : " Make the dead alive ! Be quick ! This
fellow we cannot kill will tear the world to pieces. Be
quick." The medicine-men said : " We will make the
dead alive." They worked hard for four days and four
nights ; they made him alive ; they sent him to his
brother. The brother was not pleased. Hot Hand said :
" I am ashamed. They have heard me mourn. Every
thing has heard me mourn. I have lifted the ground
into hills, I have torn up trees, I have made rivers of
tears, I have groaned like a herd of bulls. You should
have come sooner." Hot Hand stood up, he went into
his house, and pulled [shut] the door. Cold Hand sat
down outside the door. He was poor in mind ; he did
not know what was the thing to do, for he had not
back the spear ; he had not back the arrows and the
bow. He stayed there. Hot Hand waited. He waited
a long time. Then he pulled back the door-skin a
little, and handed out a kettle, fire-sticks, tobacco, and
a little whistle to call ghosts. Cold Hand took the
things. He went away from that place. He followed
the sun. The storms were gone. He went faster than
the sun. He sat down on the edge of the world to
dream. When he had dreamed he made a place for
good souls. Before that they had no place ; they
blew about in the wind. Since that time death has
been better than life.
1 6 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
Hot Hand went on.
He killed many little devils of bad dreams and
disease ; he conquered many demons, but he did not
like the people any more. He was poor in heart for
Cold Hand. He followed the sun over the road of
ghosts ; he sat down and dreamed of the good place
of Cold Hand. He went on. He sat down in the
road where it divided. He did not get up ; he was
tired. He is there now. He points the way to his
brother's place to good souls; he points the way to
the cold, wet place of the demons and devils to bad
LEGEND AND HISTORY.
PRECISELY when the Musquakies associated themselves
with the Sacs, is not set down on the "winter counts,"
as the hieroglyphics painted on skins or bark as memo
randa for the historians and poets are called. The first
white settlers stated they found them separate nations
in Canada. The missionaries, Allouez, Andre*, and Mar-
quette, preached to them as distinct tribes on the banks
of Lake Superior, in 1669, 1670, 1671. La Salle and
Hennepin quarrelled with the Outagamies, as Hennepin
called them, in 1679, and afterwards made a feast for
them. No mention is made of Sacs being concerned
with either wrangle or feast. Parkman, referring to the
" Relation de la defaite des Renards par les Sauvages
Hurons et Iroquois le 28 Fev., 1732" (Archives de la
Marine), which gives an account of the slaughter of the
Outagamies in their villages along the Wisconsin River
by bands of Iroquois, Hurons, and Ottawas, adds : " It
may be well, however, to mention another story, often
repeated, touching these dark days of the Outagamies.
It is to the effect that a French trader named Marin,
whom they had incensed by levying blackmail from him,
raised a party of Indians, with whose aid he surprised
and defeated the unhappy tribe at the Little Butte des
Morts, that they retired to the Great Butte des Morts,
higher up the Fox River, and that Marin here attacked
1 8 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
them again, killing or capturing the whole. Extravagant
as the story may seem, it may have some foundation,
though various dates, from 1725 to 1746 are assigned
to the alleged exploit, and contemporary documents are
silent concerning it. It is certain that the Outagamies
were not destroyed, as the tribe exists to this day.
"In 1736 it was reported that sixty or eighty Outa-
gamie warriors were still alive (Memorie sur le Canada,
1736). Their women, who when hard pushed would fight
like furies, were relatively numerous and tolerably pro
lific, and their villages were full of sturdy boys, likely
to be dangerous in a few years. Feeling their losses
and their weakness, the survivors of the tribe incor
porated themselves with their kindred and neighbors,
the Sacs, Sakis, or Saukies, the two forming henceforth
one tribe, afterwards known to the Americans as the
Sacs and Foxes. . . ."
In a footnote he adds, " Outagamie is Algonquin for
Fox. . . . They called themselves Musquakies, which
is said to mean red earth, and to be derived from
the color of the soil near one of their villages."
As to this last statement, I don't know what Algon
quin tongues may call a fox " Outagamie," I do know,
however, that "Musquakie" means "Fox," whether refer
ence is made to the animal or the tribesman, in Saukie,
Kickapoo, and Musquakie, though the Saukies (Saukie-
ock, to speak the plural as they do) say jokingly that
Geechee Manito-ah made the Saukie out of yellow clay
and the Squawkie out of red. Furthermore, the Mus
quakies claim that they never had any other name than
Musquakie, that their neighbours called them Outa-
gamie-ock, other-side-of-the-river-people, when they lived
on Fox River. They deny emphatically that they
received the name " Fox " only after they were driven
to the river by the Iroquois.
Here is the story repeated four times a year by the
Legend and History. 19
tribal historian, at the council-fire : After the Brothers
went away, the parents of the seven sons and seven
daughters dwelt quietly in the wood near the sea-shore.
They lived to see many generations of their descendants,
and to hear their warrior-grandsons boast how they had
harried the wicked tribes that requited evil for good
with the Brothers. Among these warriors was a young
sub-chief called Bull Buffalo [a posthumous child pro
bably, though this is not in the recital, for "the-man-
who-never-has-seen-his-father " is always a prophet]. Bull
Buffalo, at the time of his nine days' fast, had a vision
which showed him the young tribe moving westward,
meeting and associating itself with an older people, as
had been foretold in the beginning by the Brothers.
The " sign " was to be a white buffalo which should
appear and run back and forth between the Musquakies
and the encampment they were to approach, and then
disappear as mysteriously as it came. All this came
to pass, the historians assure us ; and the two tribes
were as one until, in 1833, the Musquakies returned to
that part of the country of the Illinois now known as
the State of Iowa.
The more prosaic account of the Sacs is that a band
of the Musquakies rebelled against a cross old chief,
set out to seek their fortune, wheedled a company of
girls whom they found gathering blackberries, into
marrying them, went home to live with their mothers-
in-law and, eventually, assembled all their poor relations
under the tent-poles of their prosperous relatives-by-
I do not believe that this last story is intended to
be taken seriously. The Sacs are, in contrast with their
saturnine neighbours, the Kickapoos, and their rather
grave allies, the Musquakies, a very waggish people,
delighting in practical jokes and anecdotes nicely calcu
lated to rouse vehement protests and denials from the
2O Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
subject of them. The one point in favour of the state
ment is that the Musquakies, although they speak of
the Fox as their most revered totem, have their chiefs
from the Eagle Clan as do the Sacs from their Eagle
Clan. Even this, however, is not conclusive. Bull
Buffalo, the prophet, is spoken of as a sub-chief. Judging
from his name, he must have belonged to a Buffalo clan.
There is no clan of that totem now, nor any tradition
of one ; but how else could he have come by the name ?
To be sure, it is possible that the Bear clan may have
included in its nomenclature all the larger game animals ;
but it is not probable.
On one fact all stories agree : that the Hurons and
Iroquois, with some assistance from those pale-faces of
whom it is said that upon landing in America they "fell
on their knees and then on the aborigines," found the
tribes allied not amalgamated, and drove them inch by
inch westward to the shores of Lake Superior, and there,
the French, unwilling that their strength should be added
to that of the red men already in possession, attacked
them, and crowded them southward, along the valley of the
Mississippi. From that last ill came good. In the
great wooded prairies of that rich basin, they found game
and food in abundance, the climate was more genial
than any to which they had been accustomed, the water
of the rivers was pure and many medicinal springs were
found, so that in their new environment they had
much comfort and their numbers multiplied in spite of
occasional warfare with the Dakotahs, their kinsfolk the
Kickapoos and Chippeways, their friends of other days
the Shawnees, and bands of their ancient enemies the
Iroquois, whom they blessed the British for smiting.
So well did they love the British for breaking the
power of these tyrants of the red races that they took
no part with Pontiac when he persuaded the Sacs to
join his conspiracy in 1763, and in 1776 and 1812 they
Legend and History. 21
gave up the safe role of neutrals and fought valiantly
for King George and the Regent.
From 1814 to 1832 they were comparatively peaceful,
the occasional hair-lifting of their relatives and neighbours
being on so small a scale as to count for nothing more
than a family jar. But, in 1832, under the leadership of
Black Hawk, the Sac chieftain, they rose once more
against the United States, this time, for a wrong so
grievous that they must have the sympathy of all who
love fair dealing. A few years before, a member of the
allied tribes killed a companion. The white government
agent sent him to St. Louis to be tried for murder.
According to their custom, the relatives of the prisoner
sought to buy his life from the relatives of the dead
man ; but the agent had taken the matter out of their
hands. The relatives supposed there was but one way
of settling such difficulties; consequently, they entrusted
the bundle of rich furs, beadwork and wampum to
certain sub-chiefs, and sent them to St. Louis. There*
the sub-chiefs were spoken fair by some in authority,
their presents were received, they were offered such hos
pitalities as dram-shops afford and gave themselves up
to the enjoyment of them. At the end of a month,
they returned to the tribes, a sickly, shame-faced, sorry
lot. When questioned, they confessed that they were
drunk for a week, at the end of this time, they became
sober enough to ask that the prisoner they had, as they
thought, paid for, be delivered to them. His prison
door was thrown open, but when he passed through it
he was shot down. Something was said about his having
had a trial, but the sub-chiefs were still too muddled by
their potations to understand, or even to take charge of
the body or know what disposition was made of it. The
worst of their mischief they did not confess. Perhaps
they were not aware that they had committed it.
Months later, the head chiefs were confronted with a
22 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
document which vested the title of their best lands,
their hunting-grounds, the sites of their principal villages
and, most dreadful of all, their burying-grounds, in white
men unknown to them. This paper was signed by the
sub-chiefs, that is, each of them had scratched a cross
on it in the presence of witnesses. The head-chiefs and
their councils protested that sub-chiefs had no power and
authority to make either deeds or treaties, and the
matter rested for a while. Finally an order with soldiers
behind it came for the Indians to move on. The two
tribes, with Black Hawk, the war-chief elected by them,
at their head, in spite of the warnings of Keokuk, the
shrewdest of the chiefs, resisted the order, and, as a
preliminary, killed the agent and several liquor-dealers
who infested the land in dispute. The result was inevi
table. The red men, as usual, were overcome and driven
from their homes, Christian civilisation filled their place
in what is now known as the State of Iowa, and the
savages were located on what is now known as the
Brown County (Kansas) Indian Reservation. All the
Sacs submitted to the change, but the older Musquakies
were not allowed to sit down and eat out their hearts
with home-sickness. There followed what is known as
the " Revolt of the Squaws." This was the cause of it :
In the cold, wet Spring of 1831, nearly all the children
of the two tribes had the measles, a disease introduced
by the white settlers, and treated by the Indian medicine-
women with the universal remedy, an hour or two in the
sweat-lodge followed by a cold bath. Nearly every child
died and was buried, not with the older people on the
hill-tops, but in the path leading from the wigwams to
the river. The little children as well as the very aged,
so the Indians believe, cannot find their way to the Spirit
Land, they must be led by their next of kin, and the
freed spirit of the adult must linger near its former home
until started down the ghost-road by the ghost-carrier.
<f" OF Tri
Legend and Histvryr 23
The mother who dies far from her baby's grave loses
her darling for ever, the mother who keeps near it has
two chances for happiness. As she goes over the grave
in the path, she may absorb the little soul and have it
born again of her body ; or if this is denied her, she
may have the little spirit flit to and fro as she goes
about her work, though it may not enter her habitation.
" We go back to the children," said the bereaved Mus-
quakie mothers, "the men may go or stay." They set
out, and the men followed and overtook them.
They made no effort to regain their rich fields and
wooded hills. They took an humble place along the
river banks, on the marshy flats from which the sun
stewed the pestilent vapors that engendered ague and all
the malignant fevers attendant upon malaria, and lived
there with their baby-ghosts and their dire poverty,
unmolested by the white people until the village of Tama
expanded into a city and the wet land was worth drain
ing and dividing into town lots. Then, it was too late
for the white man to lift the burden of ownership. The
Musquakies had deeds to their mud and malaria. They
had made a little money by hunting water-fowl and
muskrats, fishing, basket-weaving and other simple arts,
and with it they had bought from the government the
tract so long considered worthless, at the rate of six
shillings the acre. Later, from discontented settlers, they
purchased five farms lying across the low hills and
shallow valleys. Still later, Providence sent them a friend
in the person of an agent who helped them to fill out
the tale of three thousand acres, their present holdings,
claiming and obtaining for them a portion of the sum
paid for the State of Iowa so unwillingly relinquished by
the Sacs and Foxes. The sum though small when the
land was ceded, had been at interest for over half a
century, and interest and principal were more than
enough to buy back all the old paths to the river, all
24 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
the old grave-sites on the hills, the old dance-grounds
and some, at least, of the fields where the sacred corn
for the meal of sacrifice was planted. From being the
humblest of the red people, refugees who oftentimes knew
what hospitality was from a poignant experience of what
it was not, the Musquakies have become secure landed
proprietors who feel their importance. They have their
summer homes of elm-bark on the hills and their winter
homes of closely woven tules covered with cowskins
along the river bank ; they have some money at interest ;
they can, and do, offer the hospitality their souls delight
in — indeed, their guests are their undoing though they
will not acknowledge it. Wily Pottowattomies have
taught their young men to gamble away their ponies
and ornaments at faro, and a white visitor started an
epidemic of smallpox, that has reduced their numbers,
in the last year, from four to three hundred men, women
THE tribe is a limited monarchy. Its head is an here
ditary chief of the Eagle Clan. Its parliament is the
head-chief's council and the councils of the sub-chiefs
who preside over the seven clans into which the tribe is
divided. Its cabinet is the body of " Honourable
The descent of the headship is from father to son,
though, as tribal history attests, there was a time when
the inheritance passed over a man's children to his sister's
oldest son, or, if he had no nephew on the female side,
to his brother of the same mother, or, if he had no brother
of the same mother, to his mother's sister's son.
The sub-chiefs also are of the Eagle Clan. When one
dies, his place is filled, not by his son, but by the head-
chief's next-of-kin who is not already at the head of a
The supremacy of the Eagle Clan gives rise to a
suspicion that at some distant date a war-chief chosen
from that clan must have usurped the headship and
divided all the lesser offices among his relatives ; else why,
if the Fox is the most revered totem, is not the headship
from the Fox Clan, and why are not the other clans ruled
each by a man of its own particular totem ? It may be
urged that the historian of the tribe has nothing to say
on the subject, but some history, it is known, has been
26 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
lost by the death of an historian before his successor
was fully prepared to take his place.
The head-chief's council consists of the head-shaman,
the war-chief, the seven pipe-keepers — who are old men
chosen from the whole tribe without reference to their
totems, because of their fortitude, bravery, calmness,
dignity, shrewdness and honesty, — all sub-chiefs who are
heads of clans, all other sub-chiefs who are " whole "-
that is, all the head-chiefs male relations who are not
heads of clans, who are over seventeen years of age and
not crippled, maimed, deaf, dumb, blind from infancy,
insane, feeble-minded, or condemned to wear women's
clothes, and the tribal historian unless he is also a chief
This council must assemble round the council-fire
four times a year : at corn-planting, mid-summer, first-
frost, and mid-winter. It may assemble as often as the
head-chief desires or requires advice on matters of public
interest which concern either the tribe or a portion of
its members. Its province is to make treaties, buy, sell,
or rent lands, settle disputes after the lesser councils
have failed, give decrees of divorce, and listen and cause
every member of the tribe to listen when the historian
chants or declaims the history of the Ancestors and the
genealogies and worthy deeds of the chiefs and other
great men living or dead.
A council generally lasts from one to four days. On
the day appointed for it to begin, the women bring
great quantities of fuel to the spot selected for the fire —
usually, an open space in a grove — and then retire to a
sheltering clump of brush or saplings, from which coign
of vantage they covertly watch the efforts of two old
men who have been sent by the councillors to kindle a
flame in the old-time way with fire-sticks. The work
is arduous, but the old men never fail to have a fine,
clear blaze in time for the first assembling of the council,
Government. 2 7
that is, a little before sunset. The members of all the
councils having assembled at the head-chief's house, to
which they were bidden to repair several days previously,
by messengers sent by the chief, at a nod from him follow
him, in single file, in order of rank, to the council-fire.
When they are yet a little way from it, the " most
honourable woman," that is, the woman who has borne
and reared the largest number of able-bodied sons,
advances with a brand she secured as soon as the two
old men retired from the scene of their labours, flings
it on the blazing heap " from the sun side " — the west
Then she and her fuel-gatherers take possession of their
mats, spread a few feet away, and squat low with their
necks sticking out of their blankets so that they look
like a row of turtles. The head-chief stops north of the
fire while the head-shaman, muttering prayers as he goes,
marches stiffly to the east of it and, with his unwinking
gaze fixed on the setting sun, throws into the flames as
an offering to the god, four precious blue wampum
beads. This done, he moves a stride to the south to
make room for the head-chief, slips round behind him
and takes the place of honour on his right. Then, the
other members of the council complete the circle and
all sit down on the ground.
(This assemblage looks very neat, and extraordinarily
ugly, shrouded in plain grey or white blankets, and without
paint, or ornament if we except the " medicines " of the
Outside this circle sits another, composed of the
members of the sub-chiefs' councils, who are present as
a mark of respect to their leaders. Behind these, stand
the young men and " police."
As soon as the councilmen are in their places, the
young Eagle on the left of the head-chief rises, takes
the Eagle pipe from the pipe-keeper, fills it with killi-
kinnick (a mixture of tobacco, bark of the red willow,
28 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
and leaves of the creeping wintergreen), lights it and
hands it to the chief, who takes four whiffs and blows
them toward the sun, after which he hands the pipe to
the shaman. The shaman blows one whiff to the west,
the other three, north, east, and south. He gives the
pipe to the war-chief who blows his four whiffs to the
four points of the compass. His example is followed
by the others in turn. The empty pipe is returned to
the keeper. When very important business is to be con
sidered, all of the clan-pipes are smoked, but after the first,
the chief offers the smoke to the four cardinal points as
do the others. When the business is of moment to the
whole tribe, the pipes are passed to the second circle,
but its members take no part in the subsequent delibera
tions unless called as witnesses. Occasionally, the pipe-
keepers themselves hand the pipes to the chief. I have
never been able to obtain a reason for this variation of
usage. After the pipes, any business is discussed except
divorces. They are always considered in the morning.
This first meeting is from sunset to sunrise as a rule,
though one has been known to continue from sunset to
sunset, or longer.
The pipes are smoked every evening through which
the council lasts. When it is ended, the squaws put out
the fire by covering it with sods. The ashes are then
gathered up by the shamans, who use them as medicine.
Between discussions, the historian rises up and gives
a chapter of tribal history.
The chief has the casting vote, but he is apt to cast
it as the shaman advises.
If there is dissension and ill-will among the members,
the chief dismisses the council and calls another meeting
after the Religion dance.
As before stated, the office of head-chief is hereditary.
Nearly always he is the object of reverent affection ; but
there have been instances of revolt, when he was set
aside and his heir put in his place. There is no installa
tion ceremony. When a man becomes the head by
death or revolution, he calls together the councillors of
his predecessor, and the work goes on as if there had
been no change. If compliments, rebukes, or warnings
are his due, the old men bestow them at the Religion
dance. As to his powers : he calls and dismisses councils,
gives the casting vote, and exercises much the same
rights as are vested in the chairman of a committee of
The shaman holds his place by virtue of his natural
gifts, supplemented by his predecessor's training. He
may be of the lowest family or the highest. A shaman,
ever on the alert for a worthy disciple and assistant, sees
a boy of six years or over, whom he judges to have
the necessary qualifications, and claims him as his own,
a claim readily allowed by his delighted relatives, for
it does not take him over from their clan to that of
his instructor. If he is the chiefs heir, so much the
better, his " medicine " will make him the better chief
and compel greater respect for his authority. Some
times, however, the shaman comes not in by the door
of his predecessor, but over the wall as it were. The
present head-shaman, Nekon-Mackintosh, was left a
destitute orphan who wandered from wigwam to wigwam,
kindly enough treated but no one's especial charge till
he caught the fancy of a white physician, who found it
less difficult than he would have done in an ordinary
case, to take him away from his people and rear him
in his own family. The boy slept in a bed, ate at, and
not on,1 a table, wore the raiment of civilization, went
to church and to school, studied medicine and bade fair
to take his foster-father's place, but — " Once an Indian,
always an Indian." When he came of age he deserted
1 The savage who dines from a table does not sit or stand by it ; he squats
on the top of it with the food at his knees.
30 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
Dr. Mackintosh, though he kept his name, and went
back to the tribe, where he put his knowledge of
Chemistry, Botany, and Medicine to such good use that
he is to-day the greatest man, not only among the
Musquakies, but among the allied tribes as well, that
has appeared among them since the prophet-chief, Wah-
ballo. Be it understood, he is not carrying civilization
to his people, he took the initiation of manhood with
an accompaniment of tortures entirely optional, he feigned
illness to learn the secret of the shaman's magic. Now,
he practises every art of the ancient sorcery with such
additions as his scientific knowledge may suggest, leads
the Medicine-dances, and is a walking museum of talis
mans and fetiches.
Beside the shaman sits the war-chief, whose title comes
to him by election. He is the general of the little army,
a leader, of any family or no family, chosen by the
votes of the braves, to command them as long as he
leads them to success. The present incumbent of the
place is very old, and, without doubt, will be the last
to fill it.
The keepers of the pipes are graduates from the sub-
chiefs' councils. Each is elected by the council of his
clan or totem to this sacred office, which gives him a
seat at his sub-chief's right hand in the minor council,
and adds him to the number of the head-chief's advisers.
His house; after he becomes custodian of the pipe, is
as sacred as the dance-house. In it must be no light
and frivolous conversation, no jests, no telling of obscene
stories, no censoriousness, no love-making. His wife
may cook, make, mend, or wash in the wigwam on whose
wall hangs the pipe in its case ; but she may not gossip
with her friends there, nor receive the mother of her
daughter's lover when that anxious dame comes to treat
of marriage. When her husband's high honour turns
her out, she builds a new house beside the old one
Government. 3 1
and into it moves her blankets, children, cats, and dogs.
Thither, her lord is glad to follow her for his hours of
rest and recreation. The one hardship for both is the
amount of fuel required. It is a man's business to cut
down the tree, which the woman drags home and partly
into the family dwelling, that is, she brings the trunk
to the middle of the wigwam, directly under the smoke-
hole, sets fire to it, and takes what precaution she can
against the smoke settling or whirling about by tucking
the door-flap closely around that part of her fuel supply
which makes exit or entrance a peril to the unwary.
If two wigwams are kept, one for the deliberations of
the sage and his colleagues, the other for his lighter
moments with his family, of course, two trees are required
where formerly one sufficed, and it would never occur
to man or woman to cut one tree in two, or into con
venient lengths. The Musquakie Adam and Eve probably
made a fire at the base of a tree and after it fell, con
tinued at their need, to drag its length over the embers
till what had been its topmost twigs were reached, and
— "Are not the ways of the ancestors the good ways?"
The historian is the man who, as a boy of six, had
the best memory of any one of his age in the tribe.
When an old historian dies, the young one whom he
has trained to take his place immediately chooses his
successor, not to the child's satisfaction as a rule, for it
means long hours of study with his master instead of
the games his soul loves with his mates. It is a pity
really that the master does not have a class in history
instead of one pupil, for sometimes the pupil dies when
the master is old, and there is not time for the proper
training of another, and so much is lost, or, at best, kept
imperfectly in plain and brief narration, in place of
chants. Once both the historian and his pupil died.
Then was confusion and dismay. Every one hears the
lore four times a year at the councils, between the
32 Folk-Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
deliberations of the chief and his councillors, and frag
ments of it every time there is a dance or social
gathering; but it is not in colloquial language, but in a
stately old speech of words, minutes-long and difficult
both of pronunciation and remembrance. Some could
remember one passage and some another, but no man,
even with the aid of the bundle of the " winter counts,"
could piece out the ^Eneid of the tribe. At this moment
of despair came forward a lame boy of low degree, who
had been in the habit of warming himself at a slit in the
back of the historian's tent. He had heard the instructions
given the young man, and so profited by them that he
was ready to train a new historian. Although so young
and a cripple, his grateful people broke rules for once,
gave him the right of manhood in spite of his infirmity,
and set him in the council as historian, next the keepers
of the pipes and above the young men of the chiefs
The clan-chiefs do a good deal of talking during the
deliberations, and are at liberty to interrupt the historian,
and ask him to hasten his speech or change his theme.
They seldom rise to talk ; in fact, nobody in the circle
talks standing, except the historian.
The sub-chiefs who are not clan-chiefs have nothing
to say ; they are merely garnering wisdom.
The members of the second circle do not talk, but
they have the right to express themselves by signs. As
the Indian sign-language is almost as copious as the
spoken one, free speech is but slightly restricted. All
sit, but if the pantomimist is behind the man he wishes
particularly to impress, he has the privilege of changing
There is a third circle, composed of young men and
the four "police," who are elected yearly after all other
business is attended to, to act as messengers and keep
the peace. The men of this circle stand. They never
Government. 3 3
speak unless called on as witnesses, and never stir unless
sent on some errand.
Outside of this picket is a rabble of gossips and
listeners, consisting of the very old, the very young, and
the unconsidered of both sexes.
Standing in a huddled group to the south or east,
is generally a wretched band of hungry and feverish
youths who, on the morrow, are to receive the rite of
The " cabinet," the " Honourable Women," squatted
on their mats north of the fire, look meek enough, but
woe betides the aspirant for tribal honours who pre
sumes on this. They keep a discreet silence ; but the
greater number of cases to be tried they have tried
already in the privacy of the family wigwam, and
though each councillor may doubt what may be his
fellows' vote, his wife, the " honourable woman," has no
doubt of his, and has already told the " most honour
able" she of the greatest number of grown sons, what
may or may not be expected of him. Famous are
these august mothers — no childless woman is among
them — for turning public opinion this way or that.
Though decorum forbids them to engage men in public
debate, they meet together and agree on certain measures,
privately urge them upon the man or men of their house
holds, and, if uncertain of a sister's eloquence or influence,
talk them over within hearing of the doubtful or oppos
ing councilman as if bent on convincing one another
without reference to him. They are not elected to a
place on the prayer-mats. When a woman has a healthy
son old enough to marry, and one or two sturdy rogues
several years his junior, she takes her place as a matter
There is but one injustice to women in this tribe : even
the most honourable woman may not stand where the
two outer circles open opposite the chief, and testify for
34 Folk-Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
or against the complainants standing there, unless she
be the sole witness to a murder.
A sub-council is an informal affair. Its members are
invited by the sub-chief at the head of the clan to meet
him whenever he feels the need of advice, in front of
his wigwam if the weather is good ; in it, if rain or snow
is likely to put the fire out. The fire for an out-of-
doors meeting is made by the women of the sub-chiefs
household with coals from the fire that burns in the
middle of his wigwam. If the meeting is in-doors, the
fire by which he eats and sleeps serves. The ashes of
either fire are not medicine, but after the council the
men play a gambling game in them. The members
of the council are the medicine-man if the clan has
one, the pipe-keeper, the sub-chiefs grown-up sons, and
the best old and middle-aged men in the clan. Every
one takes four whiffs at the clan pipe, after which
business is in order. Generally the cases tried are
unimportant, but every complaint or dispute is listened
to with close attention.
As a postscript I must add that the pipes I have re
ferred to are the peace-pipes. Formerly the tribe had
four hatchet or war-pipes; now it has but one. Where
that one is kept no one will tell me. Its where
abouts (except when on rare occasions it is made a
feature of the little historical drama, " Burying the
hatchet") is almost as much of a secret and mystery as
that of the "Mee-sham," or covenant with the gods.
THE Musquakies pay homage to four gods, seven totems
or patron saints, and an uncountable number of demons,
devils, sprites, and ghosts.
The gods are the good manito-ah who dwells in
the sun, the bad manito-ah who is lord over that cold,
slippery, wet cavern in which bad souls are imprisoned,
and the Brothers whose places are described elsewhere.
Geechee Manito-ah, the good god, created all things,
gave to each a soul, and ordained that a soul should
belong to every work of man's hands. He always was,
he always will be. No one knows whether, in the first
place, he made the world or not, but it is known that
twice he nearly destroyed it — once by fire, once by water.
When he created the Ancestral Animals he made twelve,
though his first intention was to have but eleven. The
first man he made was so badly done that he threw it
down on its face and called it " Turtle." Then he
decided not to have a man for an Ancestor, but as he
did not wish to stop with anything as ugly and
awkward as Turtle1 he made Raccoon. When he
breathed the breath of life into the clay figures he
breathed too fiercely, and set not only the Animals, but
all the world on fire. After he had extinguished the
conflagration with a tear he found nothing left alive but
1 Turtle was the eleventh animal of the first creation.
36 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
Turtle. The fire had hardened his once soft and hairy
back into a shell, but otherwise he had undergone no
change. This pleased the Geechee Manito-ah so much
that he told Turtle to choose any boon in the power
of a god to bestow. Turtle said : " Give me a tail.
All the other animals you made had tails. The fox
had the best one of all ; give me one like his." Geechee
Manito-ah made answer : " You may have a tail, but a
bushy one like the fox's would wear out as you dragged
it along the ground. Accept a smooth one." Turtle
took a smooth one, and was content. Then Geechee
Manito-ah said to Turtle : " You shall be grandfather
to all ; you are the eldest." This is why the Delaware
Indians are called Grandfathers by the other tribes,
their chief totem is the Turtle.
After the fire was out and the world cooled off, Geechee
Manito-ah again created Totems like those destroyed by
his breath, and all other things, except the Snake (Wau-
kau-thee). Wau-kau-thee was a part of him. A portion
of his body being in his way, he tore it off. Imme
diately it glided, hissing, into the bushes, and from thence
made its way to a cave in the top of a high hill. Ever
since it has been known as the great Rain-Serpent,
When it puts its head out of the cave and draws in its
breath it sucks up the moisture of the clouds and springs.
As long as it has its head out no rain falls, the pools
and little streams are dried up, the waters of the rivers
are low and unwholesome. When it draws in its head
and goes to sleep, all is well again. It made itself a
wife of a dead tree-branch, and became the ancestor of
all snakes ; consequently the human being who kills a
snake will bring on a drought and a pestilence of worms,
caterpillars, and insects (which sprang originally from the
slime left by Wau-kau-thee as he crawled up the hill).
No harm results, however, from allowing hogs to eat the
After the second creation, Geechee Manito-ah breathed
very softly on all he had made, so as to give life instead
of destroying flames. When he looked and was satisfied
with his work, he had Partridge build him a round boat,
and in it he sailed up to the sky. Daily since then he
has crossed the sky and looked down on his handiwork,
but his round boat is so deep as well as so dazzling in
colour that few ever catch a glimpse of him. Sometimes
the Rain- Serpent, which is the greatest of sorcerers, gets
cross, and cuts off his view with black clouds and storms,
but Geechee Manito-ah bears this patiently, because of a
great service it rendered a long time ago. That was
when he came down to earth and sat down in a lonely
valley to make some arrows. Rabbit, who is himself a
sorcerer of power, concealed himself in a little whirlwind
of dust, and sped by, snatching the arrows as he passed.
With one of these he wounded Geechee Manito-ah, and
the wound bled so much fire that the world would have
been burned bare again had not the Rain-Serpent ex
tinguished the flames by spitting on them. This brought
a new peril, which Geechee Manito-ah, lying sick from
his wound in the bottom of his boat, which had sailed
up to the sky, did not notice. Water poured all over
the earth, so that everything was submerged except a
few creatures Partridge, a sorceress, took into a boat
she caused magically to appear. Rain-Serpent would
give Partridge no help when she tried to dry up the
waters ; so she, Antelope, and others whose names are
not given, besought the divers and swimmers in the boat
to procure a little earth. All refused except Muskrat.
Thrice he dived and came up unsuccessful. The fourth
time a little mud was on his nose as he appeared on
the surface of the waters, but he was dead and floating
out of reach. A crow flew out, caught him, and dragged
him to the boat. Partridge and the other sorcerers
took the mud from his nose, resuscitated him, and then
38 Folk-Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
set to work to make a new land. After much medicine-
making, they caused the pellet of mud to spread upon
the waters ; but their work was slow, because the boat
of Geechee Manito-ah was not giving them light and
heat. When the god's health improved and he resumed
his journeys, the mud dried, grass and trees grew over
it ; those in the boat landed and sought new homes, but
nothing was quite as good as before, and to this day
there is less land than there was before Rain-Serpent's
Meechee Manito-ah is not very active in mischief him
self, though he was in the old, old time ; but he is the
father and author of all mischievous beings. He con
sorted with witches, and they became the mothers of
immortal demons and devils. From his sweat, his breath,
his saliva, from the very words he spoke came little
malignant spirits that cause bad dreams, disease, jealousy,
melancholy, quarrelsomeness, all the bad passions, as well
as misfortunes and sorrows. They can ruin a man's
health, these sprites, separate him from his wife, blight
his fields, lame or kill his horses, keep his pigs from
getting fat, and cause his relatives and friends to hate
and slander him. Fortunately, they are barred from their
evil work a part of the year. Cold renders them torpid.
At the first frost they burrow into the ground, where
they remain until the warmth of spring releases them.
Because of this peculiarity, winter with all its discomforts
is welcomed in the wigwam. Then it is that one may
hear the folk-lore of the tribe recited, for then no tattling,
mischief-making, spiteful sprites are listening at the door
or darting into the speaker's open mouth. " But your
people sicken and die in winter," the sceptic urges.
" The little devils creep into the body and rest there a
long time before they begin their mischief," the Mus
quakie replies ; " and they work in the warm body when
it is cold outside ; that is why when one of our people
is sick he pleases the little devil by going into the sweat-
lodge that he, the devil, may come near to the skin.
When the little devil is near to the skin, then if one
has a friend to break the ice of the river so that the
man may run quickly from the sweat-lodge and jump in,
there is a chance that the little devil may be killed by
the cold, or put to sleep so that he will fall out of the
Meechee Manito-ah himself seldom meddles with men.
He lives in the caves with the wicked dead, and rules
over them. Some hold the belief that he was killed
by his wives and is now a ghost ; others deny this and
say that it is a tale invented by the squaws.
The Totems are an anomaly. Every Musquakie claims
descent from the Brothers, but at the same time calls
the Totems the Ancestors, or Ancestral Animals, reveres
them as a Roman Catholic does his saints, and appeals
to the Totem of his clan as the Catholic does to his
patron saint. Each woman belongs to a Totem-society
for women, but she does not pay half the attention to
the cult that the men do. Perhaps she is only half
hearted, because her admission is not for life. When a
girl, she belongs to her father's Totem and to the women's
society named for it. If her father dies or is divorced
she goes over to the Totem of her mother's father and
joins its devotees. When she marries she belongs to her
husband's Totem, and thus again she changes her society.
If she loses him, out she goes again and returns to the
cult from which he took her, to stay only until she
contracts another matrimonial alliance.
A man keeps to his Totem-society for life. In it
are many mysterious observances a squaw would give
her scalp-lock to see, or even to hear described ; but she
never has seen or heard anything, and she never will.
It is known that each of the seven clan-societies is pre
sided over by a shaman, and that once a year the
4O Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
shamans have a meeting to themselves, during which they
go into trances and consult the Ancestors, who are the
chief and original shamans. It is whispered by the
squaws that some one of the seven shamans has charge
of the " Mee-sham," a mysterious something, given to the
Brothers by the Ancestors, and by the Brothers presented
to Hee-to-gwaw, the first Musquakie man, who was
born from Hot Hand's shoulder. All the men of the
tribe know what the Mee-sham is and where it is kept,
but no man has ever revealed the secret to a woman.
One squaw told me she believed it to be the skin of
Black Wolf, another was sure it was a parfleche filled
with very potent " medicine." Still another had made up
her mind that it was a roll of painted skins, something
like "winter counts," but telling what to do in the secret
societies. A buck said : " What for you ask. Him all
same like your Ark to Covenant."
I am almost afraid to refer to the Indian's belief in
ghosts, it is so very comprehensive. Lingering far from
the proper abodes of spirits are not only the ghosts of
very old and very young people who could not find
their way over the Ghost Road, even if started by a
ghost-carrier, but also the ghosts of the unburied dead,
of murderers whose lives were not ransomed by their
friends, of those who caused anyone to commit suicide,
thereby destroying his immortality (for the soul of a
suicide explodes and is no more), together with a vast
array of animal spooks and the shades of raiment,
implements, stocks, stones et cetera. Some of these are
vampires that fear nothing but fire. They generally
appear in the form of human beings, wolves, or porous
stones. Worse still are the cannibal ghosts, which by
day appear as old, mossy logs of trees. I inquired
particularly if these were not demons instead of ghosts,
and was told emphatically that they were ghosts.
WHEN you have learned the seasons and reasons for a
Musquakie's dances you have little further information
of him to seek. He dances for health, he dances for
wealth — in corn and ponies — he dances to honour his
Manito-ah, he dances to please the Totems, to placate
or expel the devils, he celebrates his successes and strives
to retrieve his failures by dancing. This interests the
folk-lorist, but it annoys the agent and missionary so
seriously that they have represented to the Government
that it is impossible to christianize and civilize this
people so long as these heathen practices are permitted.
In consequence, the agent has been allowed to forbid
all saltatory exercises. This means of course, that here
after it will be difficult for white people to see what is
bound to go on. For this reason, I am glad that I have
a full list and a tolerably good description of the dances.
First in importance, though last in the age of its
observance, is the Religion Dance (Ow-wah-see-chee),
sometimes called the " Dance of Remembrance," because
it commemorates the return of the people to the unfor-
gotten ways of their fathers. At one time, their faith
was Roman Catholic, Claude Allouez in the days of La
42 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
Salle having made converts of them, or rather, having
succeeded in grafting an adoration of the saints on the
old totem-stock ; but, some time in the past century,
date altogether uncertain, a prophetess of the Chippeways
led a number of the allied tribes back to the ancient
ways. The story told at the council fires is in substance
as follows :
When the Northern Band of the Chippeways, men,
women, and children together, were surprised while
out on a hunt, and exterminated by the Sioux, they all
lay dead from the setting of the sun till its rising. A
beam of light touched the face of the prophetess, whose
name is too sacred to be spoken. She smiled, stretched
herself and opened her eyes, as one having dreamed
pleasantly. " Get up and take the drum," said a voice.
She raised herself on her elbow and looked about. She
remembered, for she saw her dead people destined to
be slaves in the spirit-land, for their enemies had taken
their scalps, or if not slaves to be dead forever if
the scalps with the souls at the roots should be de
stroyed. " Get up and take the drum," repeated the
voice. She lifted herself to her knees and looked at
the dead people again. " Get up and take the drum.'*
She stood on her feet and looked up at the sky, but
she was so weak she fell down. " Get up and take
the drum," the voice said it the fourth time. She stood
up. She saw a drum and twelve drumsticks at her
feet. She took a drumstick and began to beat. The
others beat on the drum, they beat as if drummers
" Go to the other band of the Chippeways, go to all
who will be my friends," said the voice. She hung the
drum from her neck, she took one stick, the other sticks
hung on her back. She walked eighty days and nights
without food or drink, singing and praying at night,
listening to the instructions of the voice by day, and not
Religion Dance. 43
thinking of her strength, her healed wounds, her new
growth of hair. At sunset, on the eightieth day, she
reached the survivors of her people, and, calling them
together by the roll of her drum, delivered the message
that the few who had kept to the old faith were to pray
to Geechee Manito-ah, instead of asking the Animals
to pray for them, though the Animals should receive
honour still, while those who had gone to the gods of
the black gowns (priests) were to take leave of these
gods of the pale-faces, with good words and kind looks,
and return to the old faith. " Geechee Manito-ah is
poor in mind (sad)," she said, "because his best children
keep away from him and talk only to the Animals. It
is right to make feasts for the Animals and to talk to
them, but it is not right to have them in the first place.
Also, it is not right to put the gods of the black gowns
first, because they are white gods and take the side of
the white people. But do not give these gods the bad
heart against you by saying ill words to them ; say you
will not trouble them with your business, and smile
when you say so in the church, and go away and make
your own dance-house." When she had talked thus and
had shown the scars of her wounds, and the drum and
the sticks that beat of themselves, they asked many
questions and heard all that had befallen her. Then,
they fasted and purified themselves in the sweat-lodge
and afterwards prayed to Geechee Manito-ah, and this
made them all of one mind, so that they staked off a
dance-ground, though they put no roof over it. This
pleased the woman and she stayed with them eighty
days, teaching the young men to dance and putting the
older ones in mind of all that the Brothers had com
manded. Also, she told the people to sacrifice the white
dog to Geechee Manito-ah, and that the Religion dance
was to last for four, seven, or twenty-one days, but she
did not stay to see it danced, she went away, no one
44 Folk-Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
knows where, and never came back. She did not go to
other tribes with the message of Geechee Manito-ah, she
left that for the old men to do, the old men who are
chiefs or sub-chiefs — not the shamans, it is not their dance
though they help in it.
The dance begins at sunset, and with an intermission
of the hours between midnight and dawn — a very short
intermission indeed in the months in which it is generally
given — it goes on night and day for the four, seven, or
twenty-one days prescribed, as the person who gives the
dance can afford. The cost is not such a serious matter
for the chiefs who have to give the dance after every great
council; for though every dancer — and they sometimes
number many hundreds, including recruits from affiliated
tribes — must have a present as well as be fed on the fat
of the land, everybody, dancers included, must give
presents to the chiefs. It is another matter when a
chief gives the dance for a member of his family, or
when any tribesman does it. Then a fortune in beads,
blankets, ponies, and provisions is expended. For weeks
beforehand the honourable women are busy. They help
in the purchase of needful articles, ply the sacrificial
white dog, and the young ox destined for the first night's
feasting, with all sorts of fattening dainties, offer the
use of their own best cooking-pots, help with the sew
ing and furbishing-up of the gala-garments of the children
of the dance-giver, and, most important work of all,
keep a sharp eye on the tribe's own dancers lest they
eat too much, and pray and practise their steps too
sparingly. While they are thus occupied, the chiefs are
sending off their runners to invite friendly tribes to
attend as spectators as well as dancers, taking care that
the giver of the dance is mentioned and thus sparing
him the trouble and expense of messengers to any one
but some friend for whom he has a special regard, or
to whom he feels under an obligation. The shamans
Religion Dance. 45
and other important members of the secret societies
make it their business to put the floor of the dance-house
(it is only a dance-ground really) in order by spreading
on it many basket-fulls of fresh earth, and by repairing
or replacing the rough benches and tree-stumps that
mark its circumference and serve as seats for the
chiefs, their councillors, important visitors, and wearied
The first to arrive on the day appointed are the
dancers, young men, the flower of one or several tribes,
very much bedizened with beads, paint, feathers, and
other ornaments beautiful to the barbaric eye, and,
having been on short rations for eighty days, very, very
hungry. As soon as those privileged to do so are seated
on the benches and stumps above-mentioned, the hungry
ones begin to dance, or rather caper first on one foot
then on the other, with their eyes fixed on the giver of
the dance, while they intone " yi-yi, yi-yi, yi~yi> yi-yi "
to the time of their capering. This brings the honourable
women away from the soup pots, bearing bowls of broth
from which they dip cupfuls, and present them to the
hungry young men. As the broth is well thickened with
lumps of fish, flesh, fowl, dough, and eggs, it is
undoubtedly very pleasing to the palate of the con
sumers, and they accept cupful after cupful without
ever pausing in their steady tramp, or seeming to pause
in their chanting.
At sunset the cups are taken away, the chief stands
up facing the west, and begs Geechee Manito-ah to
accept that which is to be done in his honour. The
invocation finished, the two great drums which stand
year after year in the middle of the dance-ground,
excepting when they are taken out to have the
ornaments of the heads renewed by the woman who
has reared the greatest number of sons, are freed from
their waterproof wrappings, and each surrounded by nine
46 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
squatting drummers. The old war-post,1 on each side of
which are the drums, and round which the dancers are
to gyrate, has had its coating of grease and charcoal
scraped off, and its summit adorned by a United
States flag, is now further honoured by having the
three extra drumsticks for each drum propped against
it. The chief lifts his hand, and at the signal the
drummers pound furiously, but though the great log
drums with rawhide heads give out a tremendous
booming sound, it is almost lost in the " yi-yi, yi-yi "
accompaniment of dancers and spectators. At the
instant of the first tap, the mob of dancers resolves
itself into a wedge, the point of which, next the drums,
is a boy of high degree who is a candidate for the
Indian toga virilis, the gee-string or breech-clout. He,
poor young wretch, leads the whirling, stamping, yi-yi-ing
multitude of young men till his trembling legs double
under him, when his place is taken by another
I have been asked many times to describe accurately
the movements of the dancers, but that is an im
possibility. It is easy enough to say that a dancer
stamps twice with one foot while he holds the other up,
and then reverses proceedings, but that is the least of
his labours. Everybody takes the same " steps " from
the beginning to the end of the performance, but the
evolutions are what taxes mind and muscle. At first
they are rather dignified, but speed and excitement
increase rapidly, and one minute the beholder sees a
flying wedge, the next a single-file procession sweeping
across the dance-ground to coil itself round the war-
post and drummers, only to uncoil itself and in some
mysterious fashion radiate like the petals of a daisy
from post to boundary-line. Then — you don't know how,
1 Sometimes a tree denuded of all but its top-most branches takes the place
of the post.
Religion Dance. 47
for you are sure you never looked away, or even
winked — there are before you two lines advancing and
receding as if practising a compounded reel and jig.
Then you see a hollow square, a solid square, a wedge
again, and so on, ad infinitum, while the old men stand
up and trot time in their places, the honourable women
watch everything from their prayer-mats between the old
men and the fire, or dart in and out of the maze of
dancers, proffering refreshments or carrying off empty
cups, and a shaman surrounded by anxious mothers of
candidates is whirling like a top as he does his two-step
and sings his yi-yi outside the circle, and opposite the
honourable women, to insure success to the sons of the
mothers aforesaid. Now and then the flying columns
pause abruptly, and the drums are stilled, and so are
the singers, though the feet of the dancers continue to
keep time while some wise man drones an exhortation,
or some penitent declares before Manito-ah and men
what self-denial he will practise during the ensuing year,
or some soloist chants the praises of the god. Then
the dancing goes on more furiously than ever.
Presently some one staggers and breaks step. He is
immediately pushed out, and his place taken by a
waiting dancer, one of a discontented group standing
between the benches and awaiting an opportunity like
this. There are such little groups wherever there is a
break in the circle, but not many among them will
dance the first night, the Indian muscles as a rule being
of more enduring quality than his white brother's. The
drummers suffer most. At first they use the right hand
only, pretty soon the stick is grasped in both hands, a
little later the eyes glaze and the mouth slavers, and a
dancer seeing it, and regardless of his ecstasy, pushes
him aside and drums till in turn he gives out.
At midnight, or after, the din ceases. The women
go to the tents, the men, with the exception of the
48 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
police and seven watchers for the dawn (the sub-chiefs),
wrap themselves in their blankets and lie down to
sleep on the dance-ground, and near the fires.
At the first hint of dawn the watchers take a drum
to a hill overlooking the encampment, and, standing
with their faces to the east, begin a very soft, light
tapping, which increases in volume as the light grows
stronger. As the edge of the sun's disk appears above
the horizon the beating becomes a fury of booming,
and there is a mighty shout from the watchers and the
people who have stolen up the hill behind them. Then
with arms uplifted they chant a hymn in honour of
Geechee Manito-ah who has appeared in his golden
boat. As this hymn is in the old language, and the
words run together, I never could understand well
enough to write it down, and no one would do it for
me, esteeming such a deed a sacrilege, but a woman
gave me what she called " the sense of it." Here it is :
" Geechee Manito-ah, we are glad you come.
We are glad you come in your boat, a sign to us.
We are glad you come, pleased to see our dancers.
We make the feast for you.
The newly-cooked food is uplifted to you.
The steam of the hot food rises for you.
The dancers dance for you in their best clothes, the trimmed clothes
of the old time, not the white men's clothes, we give them up.
Our feasts, our feathers, our sacred ornaments, our silver and beads
and quills and shells are all for your honour.
We sing for you, we beat the drum for you, the white dog is your
Please to accept these presents, Geechee Manito-ah, and favour
us, because we are respectful to you."
When this is over there is a rush for the fire in the
middle of the encampment, for beside it is a scaffold
from which hangs the warm and palpitating body of the
white dog just knocked on the head by the stone
mallet or axe in the hands of the president of the
Religion Dance. , 49
women's secret society of one of the clans. The man
who first reaches the dog whips out his knife, slashes
open the body and tears out the liver, taking care to
bring the gall with it, which he then pours over it as a
sauce. In another second, the liver is torn to bits by
the dancers and each of them manages to secure a frag
ment and swallow it. Then, the heart is cut up and
scrambled for, after which the squaws dress the carcass,
wash it in running water, replace the entrails, wrap it in
pawpaw1 or walnut leaves and partly roast it in the
While it is cooking, the dancing goes on, but in rather
desultory fashion. When it is taken up, it is torn into
shreds by the women, and the old men see to it that
every man, woman, and child has a taste. The bones
and hair are burned and the ashes given to the head
After the dog-feast comes breakfast, consisting of soup,
roasted eggs and potatoes, bread baked on a hot stone.
Before it is partaken of, each bowl of soup and platter
of solid food is lifted towards the sun, but this is nothing
unusual. It is the Musquakie's grace before meat, never
omitted. I should have said in a preceding paragraph
that the woman who killed the dog lifted it sunward
before she allowed it to be torn apart. I was told her
hands were not burned. After the heave-offering, breakfast
is taken in leisurely fashion by those sitting on the
ground or the sleeping-platforms ; but the dancers have
theirs as they dance, from sacred vessels of great age.
This first dance without spectators is sometimes more
of a romp than the old men like, but as soon as the
chiefs and their retinues take their places it goes on as
it did before. The afternoon is as the morning, a steady
business of feasting, dancing, preaching and vows of
abstinence ; the evening is as the afternoon ; and the
1 Pawpaw, Asimina triloba.
5o folk-Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
days go by, one like another, excepting that there is but
the one dog-feast.
When the great dance is over, those who were in tents
return to their wigwams, those who stayed in their
wigwams set them in some sort of order, the dancers
receive their presents and go their way, but this is not
all : there follows a four days' Sabbath on the reservation,
that every one may have time to meditate on what has
passed and " get the good heart " from it.
The Corn-planting dance, which takes place in April,
though the real corn-planting is about the first of May,
is of great moment to the Musquakies, though of little
interest to the on-looker. It is danced by men only.
They dance or trot along the east side of a cornfield,
going in single file, with their rattles and little tam
bourines or prayer-drums keeping time, while a young
maiden goes into the field and plants a few grains from
a perfect ear handed her by the honourable women.
Lucky is the field which is designated by the shaman
for the planting. It is sure to have a more abundant
crop than its neighbours. Any man, old or young, may
take part in this dance which takes place at sunrise. If
the harvest of the year before was scant, the dancers
may go entirely around the field instead of across one
end. Afterwards, there is some eating and drinking, but
not an elaborate feast. It has been stated by some of
the Indians' white neighbours that dogs were sacrificed
at this time. This is a mistake. All kinds and colours
of dogs are eaten at this breakfast, if obtainable, but this
is because they are considered dainty food. Of course,
when ready for consumption they are lifted towards the
sun, but so is all the other hot food.
If the prematurely planted corn comes up and thrives,
Corn-Planting Dance. 51
as it does sometimes, an unusually bountiful harvest is
Some of the old men explained that when they lived
in the south before their trouble with the Shawnees, the
real planting of the fields followed the ceremonial, and
no food was eaten until the women were done planting.
Another old custom was to have the maid who did the
planting given a husband, who went with her into the
field. Later, a prophet had a revelation that this custom
should be abolished, and nobody doubted the genuine
ness of his message from Manito-ah, for only children
born nine months from corn-planting — that is, from the
ceremonial corn-planting — are great prophets, and he was
one so born. The day is at the present time a favourite
These are danced to all outward appearances like the
Religion Dance, except that there is no sacrifice of a dog,
and the number of dancers in each is small. No one
takes part except the members of the clan secret society.
In talking to white people, some call them birthday
dances, as they are meant to honour the chiefs of clans.
Before a dance begins, the chief at the head of the clan
giving it receives a present from each man of the clan.
He is not much the richer for this, as he must make a
present after the dance to every one who has taken part
The Eagle Dance is the most important of the Totem
Dances, because it is in honour of the head-chief. I
am of the opinion that it is not on his birthday that it is
given, for Totem Dances are always in the summer. No
body will believe that all chiefs and sub-chiefs are born
at this season.
An old woman told me that when she was a little girl
those who took part in the Totem dances were dressed
5 2 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
to look like the Ancestral Animal whose favour was thus
secured, but their appearance was so dreadful in their
suits of skins, scales, or feathers, and the masks to corre
spond, that many women were frightened and made ill, a
state of affairs very bad for a small tribe that could not
afford the loss of women and babies. What to do the men
knew not, but the Totems took pity on them, and in
dreams warned the old men to destroy the masks. Since
then masks have been painted to indicate the Totem.
GREEN CORN DANCE.
This is to a Musquakie what Thanksgiving day is to
a Yankee, or the feast of the First Fruits to a Semite.
It generally takes place in August, though it is occa
sionally in July or September, if the maize matures
early or very late. When it is supposed to be " in the
milk," the head-chief and his council assemble, at day
break, round a fire that has been kindled from another,
or even by the white man's matches, and give orders by
the mouth of some one of the sub-chiefs to whom the
head-chief has nodded that the most ancient of the
honourable women are to bring an ear for inspection.
Accordingly, four of them make their way through
the dewy cornfields, and at sunrise pluck what they
consider a fair sample of the growth. Wet to the bone
with the heavy dew, they somehow manage to run back
to the waiting council and present their selection with
the husk undisturbed. If, on examination, the ear appears
sufficiently matured, a policeman goes over the reservation
and cries the good news. If it is not, the honourable
women go morning after morning and bring an ear
until one is received which is satisfactory to the council.
When the good news has been cried, the squaws bring a
vast amount of fuel and the sub-chiefs light the fire,
not by friction as one might expect, but by throwing
Green Corn Dance. 53
blazing brands from another fire on the dry wood
and leaves made ready. By the time this is done, women
begin to arrive with great sacks of the green corn on
their backs. Some of the kernels are white and some
are blue. The blue ones are carefully detached from
the "cob," until enough are obtained to fill a queer old
copper kettle, holding perhaps four or five quarts. This
is placed on the fire, and remains there until the con
tents are burned black, the shamans meantime dancing
around it and singing songs of thanksgiving. With the
cobs, the blackened kernels are thrown on the fire. When
both are consumed, a shaman orders the women to ex
tinguish the fire by throwing sods and earth upon it.
This burnt-offering is supposed to be very acceptable to
Geechee Manito-ah, and to increase the fertility of the
fields. Again, women bring fuel to the spot, the chiefs
light a fire and corn is cooked, but this time in a large
vessel and with plenty of water. Other fires are started
at the same time, other kettles are filled, and all the
men except the shamans dance around them with a
horrid din of rattles and singing. The shamans stir the
kettles and decide when the contents are cooked suffi
ciently. When the stew is pronounced ready to be eaten,
the squaws bring out wooden bowls and spoons and
serve the officers of the tribe first. After they have held
the bowls to the sun and begun to eat, everybody
feasts, dipping into the steaming bowls, a half-dozen at
once, with spoons or fingers.
The dancing and feasting, interrupted now and then
with horse-racing, gambling, and ball-playing, go on for
one or two weeks, but it is a playtime for the men
only. After the first kettlefuls, the squaws do the cooking.
Besides what they cook for the feast, they boil and then
dry in the sun a great quantity of this favourite food,
which they afterwards pack in sacks made of bark and
bury in deep pits lined with mats made of tules or
54 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
rushes. This is provision for winter, but some is
always saved until the time of the dance comes round
again ; for it is prepared at a holy time, and is there
fore the best possible nourishment for the sick.
When the men are not dancing, the women sometimes
take some steps, but not in single file, around the fire.
They go to a little distance and dance in pairs, face
to face and clasping each other's hands.
Some of both sexes mark their faces with spots or
bands of white paint, but I could not find out that it
signified anything. A girl said it was " fun."
THE WOMAN DANCE (I-COO-COO-AH).
This is a most extraordinary and disagreeable cere
monial or function, or whatever you choose to call it.
Perhaps I would better say was than is, for at present
there is no one to start the I-coo-coo-ah. Until a year
or two ago, there were a few men in the tribe who
dressed in women's clothes and lived in wigwams apart
from the others. They were said to be the unfortunates
who had failed to strike the war-post the first time they
attempted it, or had in some other way failed to come
up to the tribal standard of manliness. They were worth
less creatures, nearly always drunkards, and always un
combed, unwashed, and arrayed in rags. They did no
work, made no visits, never spoke to a woman. They
passed their time in gambling with one another, singing
indecent songs, and dozing and dreaming from the
effects of swallowing tobacco-smoke or, when they could
get it, whiskey. They were considered "good medicine"
for the tribe ; and the women insured a share of it by
leaving cooked food and bundles of wood at their doors,
when no one was observing. Once a year, a feast and
dance was given them, at which some of the young men
of the common people took them by the hands, danced
The Woman Dance. 5 5
with them, insulted them by pretended love-making, and
finally gave them presents of old clothes begged or
bought from the squaws. While the dance was in pro
gress, the on-lookers of both sexes kept up a continual
clapping, and shouted " I-coo-coo-ah " and " Hoo-hoo,
henow-chee-chee." The reason the dance is not given at
the present time is that these make-believe henow-och
[women] are no more to be found in camp. The last
appointees refused to accept the place, and an unwilling
incumbent would be " bad medicine."
This is danced by the young men. At a time appointed
by the old men, the young ones, weapons in hand,
assemble, on foot or mounted, as they choose. Then,
running with all speed round the war-post, they aim at
it with knife, hatchet, arrow, spear, or gun. If any fail
of their aim they retire in disgrace, their one consolation
being that they may have food after the four days' fast
they have undergone. The successful ones, still fasting
and amid profound silence, steal away to hunt a bear.
Of course, this is a mere form now, but once this was
the preliminary to the hunt of the buffalo, deer, antelope,
and all the larger game. When a bear was engaged, the
hunters broke silence by telling it how they respected it
and hoped that it would allow itself to be killed. When
it was killed, they still had no words one with another ;
they took the body to the encampment, where it was
scalped and every portion except the scalp burned.
This was because the bear is such powerful medicine that,
unless one has been killed and burned as a sacrifice, all
the animals killed or hurt by the hunter will at once be
healed and run away. After the burning came the dance,
which must take place while the smoke was still thick
and spreading far and wide to neutralise the medicine of
56 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
other bears in the neighbourhood. Only the hunters
danced around the dying fire, but when that fire was out
and another kindled, everyone feasted by it on such
dried stores as the squaws were able to offer. Now, the
pretended hunters pretend to bring a bear, and they dance
in the smoke as if it were burning. The feast that
follows is a poor little picnic, at which the refreshments
are mostly tinned goods purchased from the white
man's store, and dried corn boiled with grease and
sugar. After the feast, songs of thanksgiving to Meechee
Manito-ah, without whose aid no bear could be killed,
were, and are, sung. Last of all, orations praising the
dead bear were, and still are, chanted. Then follows a
hunt, a pretence now.
This is both an incantation and an historical drama.
In the autumn, the Buffalo Society, composed of all the
shamans and nearly all the important men without their
occult powers, give this dance, which, in the days when
game was plenty, was supposed to cause the herds of
buffalo to move towards the hunters. Now, the people
think that if ever the shamans prove to be as great as
their predecessors, the sod of the pastures will roll over
as if plowed, and from the furrows vast numbers of
buffalo will leap.
Secret ceremonies go on all the night preceding the
dance, in the wigwam of the head-shaman, all the shamans
(that means three men and a youth) taking part. All
the men who intend to dance keep watch outside. It is
the privilege of as many as can crowd about the door
to see what goes on inside, and they take turns as spec
tators. If one should tell a woman of the mysteries, he
would be paralyzed.
At dawn, the men, with bows and arrows in their
Buffalo Dance. 57
hands, dance away from the wigwams toward the open
fields, singing as they go an invitation to the buffalo to
appear and allow themselves to be killed for the benefit
of the tribe.
While the men are dancing away toward the fields,
the shamans stand before the lodge, their horned bonnets
on their heads and wands in their hands, while they
dance and pray without moving from their places. So
sure are they that their prayers will be heard, that they
mix a disgusting bitter drink in a buffalo medicine-horn,
and drink it the day before the dance, that their
stomachs may be quite empty when the hunters come
back with the meat.
When the sun has been up an hour or two, the
men dance back, looking over their shoulders to see
if the expected quarry is following. They are greeted
by the lamentations of the women, who profess to be
amazed that the men were not good enough to work
the miracle that is attempted year after year.
After the Bear and Buffalo dances comes the Discovery
dance, but it is not of any great importance. The
men dance, not in single file, but two or four abreast,
to some eminence, where they bend forward and peer,
with a hand above the eyes, as if searching for game.
Presently they wave a blanket as a signal to those
below that they have discovered what they sought.
Then they race madly to where they have left their
horses in readiness, mount in hot haste, and gallop off.
When they have ridden a few miles they return to
their friends. The rest of the day is given up to
horse-racing, ball-playing, and gambling.
58 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
YOUNG DOGS' DANCE.
The Young Dogs' dance was taught by the Animals
to a young man who was out hunting, saw a strange
animal, pursued it, lost his way, and fell into a hole. He
fell a long way, and became insensible. When he
recovered consciousness he found himself in a cave,
with the Animals sitting round him smoking. They
told him the mysteries for a secret society, gave him a
pot of paint [I don't know why they did not give him
three. They paint their faces with stripes of red,
yellow, and green], and taught him the Young Dogs'
dance. To a certainty they might have been better
employed, for the Young Dogs, who have a shaman
of their own, repair to his wigwam for four successive
nights before the dance, and, in obedience to the behests
of the Animals, make night hideous with their howling
and barking. What else they do no outsider knows.
They sacrifice two white dogs to Meechee Manito-ah
on the morning of the dance. The breath and steam
of the sacrifice are the share of the god, the Young Dogs
divide the hearts, livers, and gall among themselves, and
give the carcases to the spectators, who partly roast
them in ashes covered with hot coals. No, they are
not really roasted, they are heated for a few minutes,
so that Manito-ah's share may be large. Every one
present gets a small morsel. The dancing follows the
dog-feast, and is not around a central object, but in a
procession. It is kept up as long as those taking part
can keep moving, and abstain from food and water.
Sometimes, before the dancing begins, the Young Dogs
go about the reservation, or even into the streets of the
towns near by, and, while barking like dogs, hold out
their hands for presents.
Horses Dance. 59
When visitors arrive at the reservation with horses that
take the fancy of the Musquakie braves, the latter,
after openly expressing their admiration, offer to allow
themselves to be " danced at," each one indicating the
horse that is his price. If the offer is accepted those
who make it kindle a great fire and sit around it smoking.
The owners of the coveted animals, having provided
themselves with whips, or stout switches, dance about
the ring of smokers, and strike them on their backs
and shoulders. The smokers continue to draw their
pipes and converse at intervals as if nothing unusual
were taking place. At the end of a quarter or half
an hour, if no one has made an outcry, the horses are
delivered to those who were whipped for them, who,
after greasing their hurts, put on their shirts (the blows
must fall on naked bodies), mount and gallop about the
reservation whooping in triumph.
If a man finds the blows too thick and heavy to be
borne, he may say he must go to his wigwam for some
thing he needs, or make any other excuse to withdraw,
and no one thinks the less of him ; but should he wince,
or give any sign whatever that he suffers, he is dis
graced and much jeered at, especially by the women.
This is now only a bit of acting to illustrate some
story told by the historian or old men, or else it finishes
out some ceremonial such as carrying away the dead.
The young men dress themselves handsomely, mount
their ponies, ride away, and ride back at a time agreed
upon. In their hands they carry horse-tails, tufts of
hair procured from a pale-face barber's shop, as well as a
stray scalp or two taken from a bear or redskin. The
60 Folk-Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
girls, in their best apparel, go to meet them, advancing
in long rows, waving their arms and sliding their feet
along the ground. The men present their trophies, the
girls receive them, begin to dance and burst into songs
of triumph that extol the deeds of the hero just
mentioned by the story-teller, or the prowess of the
whole tribe. The effect is very striking, as the gaily-
dressed young men cause their painted and be-ribboned
ponies to prance and curvet, and the girls, still more
resplendent in the bravery of silver, bead and quill
ornaments, dance forward and backward again and
DEAD MAN'S MEDICINE DANCE.
The dance to a dead man's "medicine" takes place
the morning after his death, if possible. Of course, if he
dies in the morning, instead of during the evening or
night as he should, it must be in the afternoon. The
widow hangs the " medicine," which she has taken from
the scalp-lock of the deceased, if he died of a lingering
complaint, or from under his arm, if his soul was
required suddenly, on a pole in front of his wigwam door.
This done, she sits in the doorway and weeps noisily the
while she tears her face with her nails, or a bunch of
thorns. This is a signal for the young men in training
for the Religion dance to dance past the "medicine"
again and again, and sing songs commemorating his
peaceful virtues and the war-like ones of his ancestors.
After several hours the widow puts a stop to the
performances by taking the "medicine" and placing it
on the breast of the corpse lying in state in the
It is a bad dance for the tribe. Like the Scalp
dance, it leaves the people not only sad, but sullen and
The Young Servants Dance. 61
THE YOUNG SERVANTS3 DANCE.
There are always young men in the tribe who dislike
such offices as those of messengers, policemen, attendants
on the elders, etc. To get rid of these for ever, they stand
behind the councillors and declare themselves the servants
of the tribe for two years. Nobody says anything at the
time, but they are none the less bound. They are sent on
anybody's errands. If a man has a lame hand or foot, he
is at liberty to summon one of them to cut his tent-poles
or firewood for him,1 to curry his horses, to sharpen his
knives, to do anything that is a man's work. Any dis
abled man, any widow may command his services. At the
end of the two years he and the friends who volunteered
with him celebrate their emancipation by a feast, to which
all their relatives contribute, and a dance to the music
of their rattles and little tambourines or prayer-drums.
The young men — the reckless ones, that is — have a
secret society, of which the only public observance is a
dance, accompanied by a very pretty imitation of bird-
songs and much waving and flapping of arms and blankets.
They go from wigwam to wigwam, and sing and dance till
some one brings out refreshments. No woman seems to
know whether the Birds' Society is anything more than a
social organisation or not. Whatever it is, it should be
suppressed. If a young fellow is a pretty good sort of a
youth when he goes into it, he is soon transformed into a
lazy, quarrelsome young vagabond. It takes something
from the standing of the most exemplary tribesman to
say, " He used to be a Bird."
1 Bringing home poles and wood is the woman's business.
62 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
When poor girls are of an age to be married, and have
no one to give them clothes or make feasts for them, the
head-chief, after consultation with his wise men as to a
convenient season, sends out runners to invite members of
the tribe, friendly tribes, and even pale-faces to attend the
Presents or Dower dance. On the appointed evening the
dowerless ones sit together on a mat by the camp-fire, and
any man may take out any one of them and dance with
her, moving backwards and drawing her after him by her
hands. He must first drop a present in her lap, which is
taken charge of by a woman who acts as a sort of sponsor
or chaperon. If for any reason a girl is unwilling to dance
with one who has thrown her a present, she may make a
sign to her sponsor, who will return the present. Any girl
may dance if a present is given her, but she must give it to
one of the dowerless ones.
Long ago the young men had a Presents dance, at
which they danced in a row before visitors, at the same
time singing a begging song, but of late years this has
been interdicted by the councils.
BIRTH AND INFANCY.
THE shaman has every other act and ceremony of the
tribe kept in his memory by a glance at the knotted
string which serves him in lieu of a list of fees, but he
has no reason to consult it for memoranda of what goes
on in and about the birth-house. The fee-taker for all
that pertains to that tiny edifice is the " woman-with-
spots-on-her-face." The Indian mother builds her little
birth-house of bark or tules, according to the season,
puts a few armfuls of hay and a blanket in the north
west corner of it, starts a fire in the middle, and places
on it a soup-pot. Then she waits, but not alone. Two
or three women-friends are in attendance to keep her
mind off her troubles by chatting pleasantly, and, when
it becomes necessary, to run for the woman-with-spots-
on-her-face. If, by any mischance, a woman has not a
birth-house ready at the time it is needed, her women
friends hurry the inmates of her home into theirs, along
with the bedding, utensils, clothes, weapons, and orna
ments, leaving her mistress of the mansion and one
blanket and pot. This is inconvenient but necessary,
for " born-in-the-fields," that is, out of doors, is a dis
grace. To apply the epithet to a Musquakie is equiva
lent to calling a white man a liar. It is not a disgrace
to be born in the family wigwam, but it is unlucky for
64 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
the child ; it is sure to die before its parents if it has
had no house of its own.
When the woman's hour has come, one of her friends
goes with all speed for the woman-with-spots-on-her-
face. This is the woman who at puberty received the
roughest usage and had the greatest number of Religion
dances given in her honour, each dance entitling her to
have a vermilion spot painted on her countenance. When
the messenger reaches her and announces that her friend
is in need of her assistance, she of the spots pays no
heed, she sits and rocks herself back and forth while
she sings " yi-yi, yi-yi," as do the men in the Religion
dance. In vain does the messenger seek to attract her
attention by speech hard or soft, she is deaf to all
sound save her own singing. After awhile, comes another
messenger. She is also unsuccessful. Then arrive a
third and a fourth. When the fourth makes an im
passioned appeal, the woman-with-the-spots-on-her-face
starts up as from a trance and cries out: "Now, it is
finished ! Let us go to the happy mother and child ! "
Sure enough all is finished, as the quintette discover
when they reach the birth-house. The woman-with-the-
spots-on-her-face steps into the birth-house, takes one
look and steps out again to raise a piercing cry that
summons all the women on the reservation not already
in attendance, and the father. The women mass them
selves before the door and the father sneaks around to
the back of the house. The woman-with-the-spots-on-
her-face slits a hole in the back of the house and hands
out the naked baby for the father's inspection. When
he has handed it back and slipped away from the neigh
bourhood, she of the spots stands in the door and calls
aloud the name she has given the infant, one which must
indicate its father's clan. For instance, an Eagle's child,
if a boy, might be called Grey Eagle, or War Eagle,
or Hawk, any bird of strength and fierceness, or any
Birth and Infancy. 65
part of such a bird, as Tall Feather, Strong Beak, etc. ;
while a girl might be Singing Bird, Little Duck, Pretty
Wing, or any small bird or one of its component
After the naming, the mother goes to the river and
bathes herself and child — sometimes killing herself and
it if the weather is bad. As she goes to and from the
bath, the men are careful to keep out of the way. If
a man should meet her, he would have to seclude himself
during the time she remains in the birth-house. She
remains in it thirty days for a boy, forty for a girl.
During this time she is visited at rare intervals by some
woman who makes it her business to bring food from
the husband's wigwam. At the end of it she bathes
herself and baby, burns up the birth-house and its con
tents, sprinkles herself and baby with the ashes, and
goes back to her husband.
She nourishes her child at the breast until it is three
years old, or even four or five. She has the sole con
trol, but not the sole care, of it until it is five years old
if a boy, seven or eight if a girl. Indian fathers — Mus-
quakie Indian fathers at least — are exceedingly fond of
their infants and are at the beck and call of the little
tyrants, who learn to abuse their privileges long before
they learn to talk, night and day. As the old division
of labour was that the man should be the hunter and
provide the meat, while the woman should till the
fields and provide the bread ; and as the old rules pre
vail, though conditions have changed and the game is
all dead, it follows that a man has more time to devote
to his children than has their mother.
While under training age, the little ones are indulged
and petted as few white children are. Only one command
is laid upon them : they must not speak in the presence
of the old men, whether related to them or not. If they
disregard this law of laws, they are punished, not by
66 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
flogging, but by having bowls of cold water poured over
The Musquakie infant has few toys. The girl has a
doll, made by her mother and pow-wowed by the shaman,
which she carries by day and snuggles in her blanket
at night. The boy has a bow and blunt arrows with
which he learns to kill field-mice and birds. Both learn
to ride almost as soon as they learn to walk, sticking
on the pony's back with the aid of a saddle-horn, or
a twist of rope into which they can tangle their toes.
Both have pet dogs for which they fight and howl
valiantly when " company " comes to dinner, and which
they generally manage to keep out of the pot.
An infant has no " medicine " of its own, though it
wears a few talismans of beads or silver made by its
mother or the silversmith under the supervision of the
shaman. These talismans are most of them intended
to protect the soul instead of the body. Baby's soul
does not travel while the body sleeps, as it will when
it is older, unless it sleeps with its mouth open. In
that case the soul is likely to escape in the form of a
moth or butterfly and not know how to return. To
prevent this calamity, some mothers tie on talismans,
and others, more prosaic, tie a string under its chin and
over its crown. If it should be ill, the mother fastens
her "medicine" in its scalp-lock.
As soon as a boy is weaned from his mother's breast,
and that is when he is four or five years old, he belongs
to his father, or, if his mother is a widow or divorced,
to her father, if she has one living, and if she has not,
to her nearest male relative. From being the most
conceited, care-free pet imaginable, he becomes a boy of
many griefs and trials, and he may not run to mamma
for consolation ; that would disgrace him forever. He
is compelled to keep long vigils, to fast and look on
while others feast, is sent on errands in the dark, which
he has been told swarms with mischievous little devils
and cannibal ghosts, is set to ride unbroken colts, thrown
into the river to swim ashore as best he may, is kept
in the burning sun of summer and exposed to the fury
of storms and the bitterness of midwinter cold. All these
trials go on, not constantly, but intermittently, till he
During the nine years of novitiate, the training from
month to month and year to year grows more severe
and continuous. The fasts that at first were deprivation
from one meal lengthen, till they stretch over days and
nights of abstinence from both food and water; and other
hardships increase in proportion. In addition, his father
has spent what he can to obtain the goodwill and
assistance of the shaman towards making the boy a
68 Folk-Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
fine man, this assistance consisting outwardly in the
shaman's spinning round and round before the door of
the sweat-lodge after he has been sweated, and singing
prayers and flattery to the boy's totem. Also, the father
gives as many Religion dances as he can afford, and,
during the last year of the trial, has him, for eighty
days, taught to lead the Religion dance. Finally, comes
the nine days' fast, during which the poor young wretch
wanders solitary in the woods, dreams feverish dreams
supposed to be prophetic, and one special dream which
tells him what his "medicine" is to be, and, sometimes,
what his vocation is. Before the fast is over, it is
incumbent upon him to find the thing which constitutes
his medicine, obtain possession of some part of it without
causing its death or destruction, and place this part
obtained in a little bag, to be worn under the left arm.
Self-torture is not now inflicted, nor is the candidate
for manhood whipped by the chief of his clan, as in
days of yore. Somebody had a revelation that this was
to be done away with, very likely the chief of a large
clan, for it is told that the chiefs used to have lame
arms from their exertions with the quirt.
The morning after the head-chief's council, as soon
as the divorces are disposed of, the candidates, still
fasting, appear in the circle called the dance-house.
Sometimes the old black war-post is in the middle in its
nakedness, sometimes it is surmounted by a flag. In
either case, if the old custom is to be observed, and it
is seldom that it is not, the youths begin the day by
striking the post. With whatever weapon they choose
in their hands, and mounted on bridled but unsaddled
ponies, they essay their fortune. The shaman follows
them, but stops outside the sacred enclosure and turns
round and round, reciting prayers for their success. The
chiefs and councillors take seats at the posts that mark
out the great circle, the rest of the tribe stand and look
on from outside. At a signal from the head-chief, the
youths set out in a furious gallop around the post, and
shoot bullets or arrows, or fling knives or hatchets, at it.
Round and round they go until a signal is given to stop.
Then, the war-post is examined, and as every missile
has its owner's mark on it, it is soon known if any one
has failed in his aim. If any one has failed — this seldom
happens — he is never reckoned a man. The successful
ones are next sent on a pretended bear-hunt. Then
follows the Bear dance, and later, another pretended
hunt which gives the young actors in the tribal drama
an opportunity to go to their wigwams to rest until
sundown, when they must take part in a Religion dance.
When the post is not struck by the candidates, the
chiefs and old men substitute for the ceremony an ex
amination into their healths, skill, and accomplishments.
Several hours are passed in riding, throwing, shooting,
and wrestling, after which they stand in a row and promise
to be faithful friends and tribesmen, to avenge all wrongs
against their people, to revere the Ancestral Animals
and the memory of the great men who have gone to
the spirit-land, and to say many prayers to Meechee
Manito-ah. These make no pretence of hunting ; after
the examination, they go to their homes and sleep till
time for the Religion dance.
The dance lasts till midnight. The youths sleep on
the floor of the dance-house from midnight till dawn,
and wake — men !
This day, each new man who can afford it has a feast,
to which all men of his totem are bidden.
The girl's training is not, as a rule, so severe as her
brother's. From the time she is seven she has her fast
days, is inured to extremes of heat and cold, and has
her courage tested by being sent on errands after night
with no guard but her mother's "medicine" and her own
little talismans ; but her hard usage is not so hard, nor
7o Folk- Lore of the Musqiiakie Indians.
so frequently repeated, as a boy's, unless it is the ambition
of her parents to make her a medicine-woman of renown,
in which case her life is to be described as strenuous,
though she considers that she has ample compensation
in the Religion dances given for her. For each dance
she is entitled to wear a round red spot on her face,
and great is the deference shown her by her companions
because of these. They mean much respect from her
elders also, and easy admission into the medicine-society
when she is a young woman, good luck for her and by
means of her all her days, and a place of honour almost
equal to the shaman's when she is old.
When she is twelve or fourteen, or, rarely, when she
is eight or nine, she is secluded for a week with an old
woman, in a little hut built by her mother. The old
woman's business is to keep her from getting out, to see
to it that she has very little food or water, to hang on
her a new fetich, bought from the shaman, each day, and
to sing prayers for her all the time both can keep
At the end of the week, the old woman receives a
blanket or pony for pay, the girl is brought out, washed,
dressed in new clothes and given a feast to which all
her relatives male and female are invited. The women
and girls give her presents of small value, but the men
merely eat of the good things she hands them and take no
notice of her, beyond a grunt of acceptance as she sets
before them bowl after bowl.1 When they have finished,
she sits — down ? — no, on the platform which is the bed
by night and table by day all through the mild weather,2
and has her dinner in company with the matrons and
maids of her relationship.
The feast of a rich tribesman's son or daughter consists
of roast dog, soup made of turkey, chicken, beef, pork,
JOnly on occasions of ceremony do the men eat first.
2 By luck or pretence the puberty-feast is always in mild weather.
Puberty. 7 1
beans, potatoes, maize and beans, cakes made of tallow
and cherries pounded pulp and stones together, lumps
of maple-sugar, wheat and maize bread baked on a hot
stone, nuts, dried plums and a sickening drink of sugar-
water flavoured with beef-gall.
After the feast, everybody goes home without any form
of leave-taking. The guests do not even depart in
chatting groups. When filled to repletion, each slides off
the platform, tightens his or her blanket into a sort of
shroud and silently steals away.
COURTSHIP AND MARRIAGE.
WHEN a youth is sixteen, he is told to look about him
for a wife, and he obeys the mandate with cheerful
alacrity. As he may not marry a girl of his own clan,
he widens the circle of his friends, so that he may have
the opportunity to observe their sisters. From time to
time he reports the result of his observations to his father,
who listens gravely and administers advice after due
thought and deliberation. When the young man finds
a girl he fancies, the confidences become more frequent,
the sympathy and advice if anything more serious. No
gentleman of the wigwam would for an instant consider
an incipient love affair a theme for a joke, or even for
light and frivolous remarks to a member of the home
circle. If the father does not approve of his son's choice,
nearly always the young man makes another; but if his
regard has become so fixed that he cannot change, he
makes every effort to bring his parent to his way of
thinking. Both are argumentative and unhappy for awhile.
But if the son will not give in, the father generally does,
apparently of his own volition ; but those most concerned
know that it is after many a night spent in whispered
consultation with his wife.
The choice having been made and agreed to, mamma
sets out, in her old clothes by way of showing that she
has nothing on her mind, and strolls into and out of
Courtship and Marriage. 73
several wigwams, gossiping a little, giving the dogs an
informal kick now and then, making luck good for the
growing children by uncomplimentary remarks or no
remarks at all, till at last she reaches the abode of the
inamorata. After some desultory conversation, mamma
states that she must soon begin to look for a wife for
Pa-she-quan, or whatever his name may be. The other
does not remember his age exactly, but is of the opinion
he must be too young to marry, though truly she does
not recall his appearance well enough to discuss the
matter as she could wish to out of compliment to her
caller. (This in the face of the fact that he is her son's
friend, and in and out of her wigwam a score of times
a day.) Mamma states his age and thinks proper to
add that he hasn't given any thought to matrimony, but
that it is her wish to see him wedded to a good girl.
Mamma Number Two, evidently desiring to be polite
and obliging, mentions the names of several girls, daugh
ters of her neighbours. They are fine girls, agrees
Number One, but Pa-she-quan has never cared for that
style of beauty. Now, what he praises is (here follows
a description of Number Two's daughter).
A long pause. Mamma Number Two evidently seek
ing to remember such a paragon among the daughters
of her friends.
Finally, Number One breaks the silence by inquiring
for the health of Number Two's daughter.
She is well. She has gone to visit a neighbour.
One mother knows just as well as the other that when
a juvenile scout ran home and told the miss that Pa-
she-quan's old woman was coming, the said miss hid
herself in the darkest corner of the wigwam under a
roll of bedding, and at that moment she is with difficulty
stiffling her giggles, that she may not miss a word of
After many regrets for her absence and many com-
74 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
pliments on her good looks and manners — all of which
are carelessly waved aside by the mother — the visitor,
quite as an afterthought, asks the charmer's age, is it,
perhaps, nineteen or twenty ?
"Twenty-four." The marriageable age for girls.
" Twenty-four ! " — the visitor feigns intense surprise.
Mamma Number Two, in turn, is surprised. Has not
Mamma Number One noticed how many mothers of
young men look sadly on her daughter as she walks
along. Truly, that girl's one fault is that she is so hard
to please ; for months she has done nothing but spread
sorrow. Her parents would gladly have her less attrac
Mamma Number One had not noticed this lament
able state of affairs, but she could well believe, et cetera,
Finally, she takes leave — no, she merely goes, as
any Indian does when conversation has ceased to be
Next day, if the girl and her family are pleased, the
call is returned, and each mother makes herself agree
able by praising the offspring of the other.
After this second call, the young man, not quite
seventeen, is free to follow his lady-love of twenty-four
whenever she steps out of doors. He may not accost
her, and he may not go into a house where she is ; he
may no longer go to the family wigwam to call upon
her brother, but he may and does dog her footsteps
whenever she makes it convenient for him so to declare
his tender passion. For some days she takes no notice
of her skulking admirer, but the day comes when she
coyly glances over her shoulder and raises her brows
and shows her white teeth in a smile. The young man
sometimes hastens the appearance of this smile by
throwing a light into the lady's face by means of a cup
of water or a small mirror. After the glance or smile
Courtship and Marriage. 7$
is won, he proceeds to make night hideous by sitting
behind his love's wigwam and tooting on his willow flute
from dusk until the morning star — called the lovers'
star, the day-bringer — appears in the heavens. Three
months of this is considered a proper courtship. When
the ordeal — it is an ordeal, for through fair weather,
through foul, he must be at his post, nor does headache
or other illness bring immunity to the girl and her
family — when the ordeal is over, he sneaks into the
wigwam some morning and sits down north of the fire.
His mother-in-law-to-be hands him a platter with food
on it. While he is eating this, every one present except
mamma steals away, leaving her to haggle over the
presents she is to receive. These consist of from one
to ten ponies, some beads, and a knife or two, accord
ing to the wealth of the suitor and the beauty of the
The bargain made, mamma calls in her husband and
her nearest male relatives. These proceed to dress the
young man in a fine new suit (which he must return on
the morrow) and take him to call on all their friends
and relatives and his. The father of the girl leads the
way ; after him stalks the bridegroom ; after the bride
groom, in single file, go his mother-in-law's next of kin,
looking anything but bridal according to our standards
as they solemnly tramp along with their toes turned in
and one foot behind the other so as to make but a
single narrow track.
At sunset, the young man goes home alone and gets
the supper he is quite ready for, as he has had nothing
to eat since early morning.
After dark, the girl, who has been hidden in a relative's
wigwam for twenty-four hours, is taken home.
By sunrise, next day, she is dressed in her best
apparel, and stands just inside the wigwam-door. Soon,
the lover appears, bringing the promised presents, which
76 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
he delivers to waiting relatives on guard outside the
door. When the presents have been counted, examined,
approved, and delivered to mamma-in-law, who is sta
tioned behind the wigwam, papa-in-law bids the young man
enter the home. He enters, takes the girl by both hands
for a moment. When he releases her, the bride goes to
the fire, makes a pretence of re-kindling it by throwing
dry twigs on the embers, prepares a little bowl of gruel
and hands it to her bridegroom. He swallows it, chucks
her under the chin a few times and leads her to a roll
of blankets his mother brought the night before to serve
as a nuptial couch. On this the two sit nearly all day,
contentedly smiling at each other, taking little notice and
being taken little notice of by the friends who stroll in
The young man lives with his wife's people, but this
does not make him or his children of her clan — of her
people's clan, that is, for she henceforth belongs to his
till death or divorce separates her from him. As for his
children, his death or divorce gives the minors to the
maternal grandfather's clan ; but those who have had the
puberty-feast still belong to his.
DEATH, BURIAL, AND GHOST-CARRYING.
WHEN a sweat in the sweat-lodge and a cold plunge in
the river after it have proved inefficacious, when the old
woman with the basket of healing herbs has come and
gone, when the woman-with-spots-on-her-face is no longer
importuned for her prayers and good-will, when the sha
man has given over his incantations and medicine-dances,
when the Religion dancers have danced and drummed
and shrieked and howled and subsided into quiet, then
it is time for all the watchers save one to hide their
faces in their blankets and steal out of the wigwam-door,
leaving it wide open that the soul about to fare forth
may not have to struggle for an exit.
When the watcher, the mother if there is one, some
old woman if there is not, perceives that the soul has
left the body, she waits a moment or two to give it time
to leave the wigwam, then with a loud voice she cries
out that it has gone, and begins to wail. At once, all
the relatives begin to wail, and two of them — men if the
dead was a man, women if a woman or child — go in to
see if the face needs re-painting, and to add any orna
ments to the costume that were not put on before
If the death occurs in the morning, the funeral is in
If it is possible, the best garments are put on as soon as the shaman
gives up the case.
78 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
the afternoon ; if any time between noon and midnight,
the morning of the following day. None of the clan may
eat, except the morsel held to the sun, or even take a
sip of water, while the dead lies unburied, but food is
partaken of by the friends who assemble. They bring-
hot food in kettles, afterwards receiving pay for it from
the family of the deceased.
When No-chu-ning was at the point of death his mother
begged him to raise the death-song, but he shook his
head. No one raises his death-song now. When a man
died in battle or succumbed to his wounds after, as No-
chu-ning's grandfather did, strength somehow came in
the last hour to boast of deeds of prowess and defy the
foe ; but why should the failing breath be wasted to tell
of a few horse-races won, or quickened to defy the tribe's
relentless enemy, consumption ? The mother and wife
had hastened consumption's victory by an hour or two,
perhaps, when they lifted and turned No-chu-ning as
they placed under him his fine broadcloth blanket and
dressed him from neck to feet in shirt, leggings, breech-
clout and moccasins of fringed and beaded buckskin.
To these, they added many necklaces of beads, many
silver disks over his chest, many silver bracelets and
rings on his arms and fingers.
When he was dead, and his mother had gone out of
the wigwam wailing, two men went in, stamped out the
fading embers of the household-fire, that was allowed
to die as he did, and was never to be rekindled. On
the ashes they placed a rude stretcher or bier, that had
been made ready and brought into the wigwam the day
before. Then, they lifted No-chu-ning by his blanket
and laid him on the bier. This done, they painted his
face (from his own paint-pots, for to paint from another's
would cause that other to have visions of the dead) with
bars of red, green, and yellow, interspersed with blue
dots, his secret society marks and colours. Lastly, they
Death, Burial, and Ghost-Carrying. 79
wrapped him in his blanket like a mummy in its cere
ments, and went out to join the men who were praising
his virtues in low tones, or groaning and cutting their
arms with bits of stone. The men stood in a group
near the open door, the mother, wife, and other near
woman-relatives ran into the wigwam, wailing, shrieking,
tearing their hair and garments, horribly clawing their
faces with nails and thorns, because tears of water were
too weak for so great a loss and tears of blood must
be shed. Other women echoed their grief outside, some
of them sitting in the dust, some running to and fro.
Presently two old women brought pots of hot food and
offered it to the men. Each took a little of the thick
"mush," or porridge, made of maize-meal and water in
which meat had been boiled, in his fingers, held it towards
the sun and towards the wigwam, and then ate it. No
other food was offered during the evening or night.
Next morning the young men, twelve in number, who
were to carry the bier, advanced from a tiny brush-covered
ravine in which they had sat and mourned all night,1 and,
without speaking to or noticing any one, lifted the bier to
their shoulders and started towards the hilltop, on which a
wide, shallow grave had been dug by white men hired by
the relations.2 Every one in the tribe followed, except the
shaman ; he never attends the funerals of any one outside
of his immediate family. The men went silently, but the
cries and shrieks of the women were redoubled. It was a
strange, sad, scattered procession up the steep hill ; a few
men kept in single file behind the bier and a few women
filed after them, but the others covered half the hillside,
toiling along, each oblivious of the others, with eyes on the
ground or lifted to the bier. Now and then some one ran
up alongside of the bier, looked into the painted face the
1 For some unknown reason they did not dance the Dead Man's Medicine
dance, as was expected of them.
2 Formerly slaves did this work.
8o Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
bearers had uncovered before they started, and with most
piteous entreaty besought the dead to rise, to return to his
cold hearth and relight it, to comfort those whose blood
fell in tears because of their grief for the loss of him.
While these spoke, the wailers ceased their outcries, to
continue them when No-chu-ning made no response.
Arrived at the grave, a most passionate last appeal was
made that he would not take his way to the spirit-land,
and for a few moments the bearers held the bier motionless
and waited. When there was no reply, two of them with
a dexterous twist covered the head and face again ; then
the twelve of them contrived to step into the grave and
lay their burden down. Relatives then came forward and
placed beside the body a gun, a jar of food, a bundle of
clothing, a pair of moccasins, an embroidered bag contain
ing a pipe, tobacco, a knife, an awl, and a number of
cartridges. This done, all the women and such men as
were not relatives went slowly down the hill, lamenting
and praising No-chu-ning, and leaving the men of his
family to fill up the grave and build over it a triangular
structure of boards, which they rendered waterproof by
shingling. This task ended, they went back to the wig
wam, but not to enter it — no one would ever enter it
again — they sat down in front of it, beside the fire the
squaws had kindled. Soon friends came with food, of
which a goodly portion was thrown down by the fire,
that as it dried its steam might nourish the spirit, which
would linger about the place until the ghost-carrier should
take it away.
For thirty days the relatives mourned night and day
by the empty wigwam and on a hill opposite the one
on which was the grave. They might not, as would a
white mourner, go near the grave then or at any other
time. For thirty days also was the ghost-fire kept burn
ing, and much food laid before it, for a newly made ghost
is very cold without its body, and not easily satisfied with
Death, Burial, and Ghost- Carrying. 81
the light quality of its refreshment. There is besides
another reason for keeping the fire alight : demon-ghosts,
especially those which renew their strength by eating souls,
are afraid to get near a fire lest they explode ; it is thus
the safeguard from their malicious efforts to disfigure or
destroy the spirit, which is, until started on the ghost-road,
naked unto its enemies.
When the thirty days were over, friends came to where
the mourners had crouched under a temporary shelter of
mats and poles, set up by some of the squaws beside
No-chu-ning's empty wigwam. " Let the ghost be carried
away," they demanded.
There was no response.
The women-friends entered the wigwam x and sat down
before the mourners ; the men stood at the door and
entreated the father, who sat between the wife and
" Look up! lookup!" said the friends in unison. "Look
up, mourners, fasters, who have caused your blood to flow
because tears of water were not enough to shed for
The mourners, shrouded in their blankets, said softly:
" We cannot look up."
"He died long ago, the fine son, the good husband, the
brave and faithful friend. Is he in the Happy Hunting
Ground, pursuing the plentiful game, rejoicing in the
company of warriors ? "
No one replied.
" Is he in the Happy Hunting Grounds ? "
Again no reply.
" Mourners and fasters, is he in the Happy Hunting
Grounds, or have you failed to befriend his ghost ? "
The mourners renewed their lamentations, the men
1The temporary wigwam. No one would enter that in which there had
been a death. This custom renders it an impossibility for Indians to make
what we call "permanent improvements."
82 Folk-Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
groaning and causing their right arms to bleed, the
women beating their breasts, tearing their hair and
" Why is not No-chu-ning in the Happy Hunting
Grounds ? Have you not sent him ? " persisted the
" He is so loved we cannot part with him, we cannot
let him go," chanted the women-friends, their voices
rising above the laments of the mourners.
" He is outside. He cannot come in. Naked is his
soul. He is cold. He is like a wolf picking up crumbs
cast into the darkness. He is no longer a fine young
man. He begs at his own door," chanted the men.
" He is son, husband, brother, we cannot part with
him, we cannot let him go ; if he goes, he returns no
more," the mourners responded.
" He is thin. He trembles ; the ghosts of evil intent
mock him as he tries to get warm by the ghost-fire.
Why is he mistreated and shamed ? Why is he not a
happy hunter in the Happy Hunting Ground ? "
" We cannot part with him. If he goes he returns
not. Long is the ghost road, no one returns over it."
" He is lonely. He has no companion or bosom
friend. He sees his friends but they do not see him ;
he knows they do not see him. He hears them talk,
but they cannot hear his thin voice. Send him to the
Happy Hunting Ground, let him have the company of
" Long is the ghost-road. He will not return
" Long is the ghost-road, but all go over it. You
will follow No-chu-ning, if you send him to the Happy
Again and again the entreaties and refusals, with
slight variations, are repeated. Finally the mourners
stand up and say:
Death, Burial, and Ghost-Carrying. 83
" Yes, yes, we shall all follow No-chu-ning, wise,
good, and loving. We shall not lose him. We shall
follow after him. Quick ! make ready the horse, the
new clothes, the feast."
" They will send him ! The mourners for No-chu-ning
will send him ! Make ready the horse, the new clothes,
the feast, call the ghost-carriers, bring no more wood to
the ghost-fire, bring no more food ; let the men who sit
by the ghost-fire praising No-chu-ning, that he may
hear, rise up, and help to make ready."
The men-friends walked away. The women followed
them, the last to go setting down a jar of water she
had held in her hands, and drawing close the door-flap,
so that the mourners might have privacy while they
washed their faces and donned their best apparel.
At a tap of the sacred drum the mourners came
forth, their wounds oiled, their faces barred with paint,
their torn garments replaced by whole ones, and took
their places on the long raised platform at the side of
the wigwam, which in winter is used for the death-feast
only, though in summer it is both bed and dinner-table
for the family. Other members of the clan mounted
beside the mourners, till but one vacant place remained
between the father and wife. At this place were a new
knife, cup, and plate.
" No-chu-ning ! No-chu-ning ! No-chu-ning ! come to
your feast," cried the father.
At this call a young man ran from behind No-chu-ning's
wigwam, leaped upon the platform, and crouched down
with the new knife, cup, and plate before him.
" Eat, my son," commanded the father. " Long is
the journey set you. Long is the ghost-road."
At once women-friends brought great bowls of soup
and placed them in a row down the middle of the
platform, so that each person might dip from them with
cup or spoon. By the bowls were heaped loaves and
84 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
cakes of maize and acorn bread, other cakes of dried
and pounded cherries mixed with grease and honey,
trenchers on which the meat in the bottom of the
cooking-pots would be placed, and some small lumps of
grasshopper-bread. Other bowls contained a bitter
drink compounded of river-water, herbs, and burnt
The ghost-carriers' platform did not hold all the
feast of the dead. On other platforms, and on the
ground, food was served exactly as it was to the
ghost-carrier and those who ate with him, and in the
same profusion. All of it was paid for by No-chu-ning's
relatives. The feast began a little before noon, and
lasted until almost sunset, it being a necessity according
to the tenets of Musquakie decorum for the mourners
to continue to eat long after hunger is satisfied, so as
to delay the carrying away of the ghost.
When the chief saw that the sun was almost out of
sight, he climbed down from his place opposite the father,
and in a loud voice commanded the ghost-carrier to go
to the Happy Hunting Ground, and in a lower tone
reminded him that the light necessary for the journey
would soon fail.
At once the ghost-carrier dropped to the ground and
stalked to a group of young men, who, mounted on their
best ponies, awaited him with a fine steed saddled with
a new saddle, its mane and tail ornamented with beads
and ribbons, its face painted, its sides concealed under
bundles made up of all No-chu-ning's personal property
not buried with him. Before he could mount, all the
mourners ran to him, clung to him calling him by his
new name, " No-chu-ning," and entreated him not to leave
them. He stood rigid and silent, while the friends, softly
chanting the virtues of No-chu-ning and his fitness to
enjoy the delights of the Happy Hunting Ground, loosened
their hands and led them away.
Death, Burial^ and Ghost-Carrying. 85
The moment he was free, the ghost-carrier sprang on
his horse and galloped toward the west, followed by the
mounted young men.
I was told that the ghost rode with the ghost-carrier
who had taken its name. "On the same horse?" I
asked. " No," was the answer. " Then where did it get
a horse ? " No reply, though the question was repeated
many times. " Is it the ghost of a horse that died in the
pasture ? " " Maybe so." " Or, perhaps, some one has
killed a horse ? " " Maybe so." I asked a dozen questions,
but that exasperating " Maybe so " was the only answer
vouchsafed to them all. As the old custom, spoken of
again and again by the tribal historian as he tells of
the heroes, at the campfire, was to bury a horse with
every one not considered too old or too young to ride,
it is a fair inference that the ghostly mount is still made
sure of by the friends and relatives. It is likely that
the interference of an agent has caused them to do
secretly what was once done publicly.
When the ghost-carrier had ridden a few miles, he
made a detour and returned with his escort to the place
from whence he started, taking care to arrive after night
fall. He was welcomed by the clan-chief and the mourners
as one returned from a long journey. Every one called
him " No-chu-ning " instead of " Pa-che-quas," the name
by which lie had formerly been known. After he
returned the greetings, he divided the bundles he had
carried among the young men who rode with him ; but
the horse he reserved for himself.
The next day, the widow and her mother built a
new wigwam for their family. In the evening, the widow
went with her mother to the older woman's clan-society
and had her face painted anew with the marks she wore
in her girlhood.
No-chu-ning's father and mother went back to their
own wigwam, where in a few days, the new No-chu-ning,
86 Folk-Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
the ghost-carrier, visited them, bringing presents of meal
and meat and announcing at the door that he was
No-chu-ning, their son, who would care for their old age.
He went home to his own parents after a short call,
but both the adopted parents who called him No-chu-ning,
and his parents of the blood who continued to call him
Pa-che-quas, felt that he was pledged to a son's duty
to the adopted ones, should they ever need his services.
The burial and ghost-carrying of a woman are like
a man's, except that a woman of her own age carries
the ghost, and is attended by girls.
Formerly, after the distribution of the ghost's personal
effects, a scalp-dance was given, but now this is rarely
For very young or very old there is no ghost-carrying.
They would get lost on the ghost-road. They must
linger about the encampment till the ghost of a relative
The funeral of little children is private, but the very
old are buried like other adults ; the children are placed
by their parents in the path to the river ; * the old people
lie in a roofed-in grave on the hill-top.
1 In the hope that they may be reincarnated. See pp. 22, 23.
GIRLS AND BEAR.
THERE were three young men, sons of a chief. One
was married, he had a nice young wife. The three
young men went out one day to hunt. The married
one said: "We must kill a bear, it is not right that a
chief's son has no bearskin for his wife to sleep on. I
must have the skin ; you may have half the meat."
The brothers said " Yes," and they went on, not talk
ing though they had made their bear-fast and killed
and burnt the bear for that year. They saw a big
bear that ran very fast, and they ran after him till it
was dark and the bear ran into a ravine and got lost
away from them. Then they picked out a big tree on
a flat place on the side of the ravine and lay down
under it to sleep. It was an oak tree, and the branches
shook and many acorns fell down on them. They were
hungry and ate the acorns. By and by, the youngest
brother said : " There is not much wind, I do not like
the way this tree acts. Let us go away from here."
The brothers said : " Huh ! huh ! you are a child to
fear the acorns. It is now the season for the acorns
to fall." " I do not like the tree," the youngest brother
said, and went away to the next one. When he had
gone the moon came out, and his brothers saw two
88 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
fine girls in the tree. The girls said " come up," and
the brothers said " come down," many times. At last
the girls let down their hair-strings and drew the brothers
up, and the brothers stayed and slept there. In the
morning, when they would have come down, they could
not, for they were tied fast by the hair-strings of the
girls ; and when the youngest brother heard the crying
out of the brothers and would have helped them, the
old bear came out of a hole in the tree and he had to
run away. When he ran home, many braves went to
the tree, but they could not see the brothers though
they heard their voices. When the tree was cut down,
the brothers were not in it, their voices were heard
under the roots. When many dug in the ground they
could not find the brothers ; so the little brother had
his brother's wife and was the young chief. Those girls
were witches, and the bear was their father.
THE GREY-WOLF AND THE ORPHAN BOY.
There was an orphan boy went hunting by himself
in the woods. He was a very poor boy and had no
friends ; so that was why he went off hunting by him
self. He went a long way, and did not find anything
to kill. At last he saw a very small grey-wolf's cub.
" You are an orphan, too," he said to it. " If you had
a mother she would crack your fleas. I will take you
for my brother." He went on ; he killed a bird and
gave it to the weak little wolf. By and by they went
to bed on the leaves. In the morning he killed more
birds, but the little wolf could not get enough. So they
went on |many days, but the little wolf did not get fat.
In a year's time he did not get fat, but he got tall ; he
could hunt. The boy was lonesome ; he did not like
to have no friend but a wolf. One day the wolf brought
a baby to him. It was a girl. It was pretty. It had
The Grey- Wolf and the Orphan Boy. 89
good clothes and beads. The wolf talked, it was the
first time. The wolf said : " Go to the village, it is near."
He took the baby to the village, it was the chief's baby.
He had a grown daughter. The poor boy married her
and had plenty of all things. The wolf came one night.
He said : " I was fooling. I was not a cub, I was a
grandfather. I pitied you and wanted to make your
fortune." The wolf went away. The orphan boy cried,
but the wolf had made his fortune. When the other
girl grew up, he had her too.
THE WOMAN AND THE TREE-GHOST.
There was a woman got mad at her husband when
they were out hunting plums. She started to go home.
She had to sleep in the woods. In the night she waked
up and heard a man say : " I have found a wife." She
tried to run away, but the man caught her and would
not let her go. In the morning, she was tied to a tree,
and no man was there. She was in the woods a long
time. One day she got her hand loosed, she got her
knife and cut the thongs. She ran till she fell down.
Then it was almost night. She had a flint, she made
a fire to save her from the man, she kept by it. She
saw the man come running, he came up and fought
with her ; he fell down in the fire, and got up and fell
again. In the morning there was a burned tree where
he fell. She ran home, but she died next day.
THE MAN AND THE TREE-GHOST.
A man was going along in the woods to find some
poles to cut. He saw an old tree and broke a limb.
The sap looked like blood. He was scared, he ran, he
fell down. He had hurt his foot, he could not go fast
any more. It was night, he had to stop. He made a
90 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
big fire ; then the trees came around and slapped, but
they could not get him because of the big fire. In
the morning they went away. He was all scratched up,
but they did not get to kill him. He went home. He
was sick a long time.
THE MAN AND THE YOUNG GIRL.
A young man was out on the prairie. He had got out
of the woods. A girl came up and said : " You will do for
a husband." He could not see her very well, it was night,
but he loved her very much. Before day she said : " I
must go away and tell my parents." She would not let
him go. She said : " Wait here." He waited there. At
night she came back. Next day when he awoke she was
gone. He saw a young elm he had not seen. He peeled
the bark from a limb and ate it. At night she came back ;
she said : " I went to my mother ; she is sick ; she will
come up soon." She had her arm tied up. She said: "A
wild cat scratched me in the woods. My father killed it."
Next day she was gone. He did not like that ; he went
on. He got into the hazel brush ; he made a fire that
night in a clear place. She called him : " Come out here."
He said: "Come here." A long time they called, then he
was mad, he lay down. His fire went down. She came
up. He said: "I think you are a ghost." He threw brush
on the fire. She screamed and ran away. He did not go
in the woods any more that year.
There were many young men and boys went swimming.
They saw some nice-looking girls a little way off, and
swam up to them. The girls laughed. They did not
talk, and they did not go away. When they had played
a long time, one young man got the girl he liked best
The D^lck- Woman. 91
near the shore, and then he took her up and ran home
with her. The others changed to ducks with black heads
and flew away. The girl was a good wife. She could not
talk. He said : "Don't go to the river." She did not go.
One day a hunter went there. He had many dead ducks.
He said : " Cook these ducks." She was scared, and ran
to the river and swam away. The young man could not
find her. He never liked any wife he had as well as
There was a girl went out to pick some hazel nuts. She
went with other girls, but she got lost away from them in
the brush. A young man came up. He had fine clothes
and a red scalplock ornament. He said : " You will do for
a wife." She was afraid, and screamed. The other girls
did not hear her scream. He took her away to where were
many trees ; he took her where many dead trees stood,
beyond the live trees. She saw many woodpeckers, but
no people. She stayed there with him. She cried so
much that at last he let her go. He showed her the way
home. He said : " You are a fool to go home." She got
home. She was despised. She wished she had not
gone home. She made a tent in the brush. She had her
baby there. He had a red scalp-lock. He grew up fast.
He knew all things. The people made him chief. Then
she despised her enemies.
A prairie-chicken lost her husband. Soon she would
like to have another husband. All the birds and beasts
were afraid to marry her, because she was a witch. They
gave her presents, but they would not marry her. She saw
a woman in a field working. The woman had a little boy
following along after her. Prairie-Chicken made herself
92 Folk- Lore of the Musqitakie Indians.
large like an eagle. She carried off the boy. She took
him home. She made medicine to make him grow. He
grew up and married Prairie-Chicken. The mother hunted
for him, but she did not know him when she saw him,
because he had grown up so fast. The old woman is in
the woods hunting for him yet. He was never in the
A poor widow who had lost all her children had no one
to bring her some meat but three old dogs. Sometimes
the poor old dogs could not catch anything. One night
all lay down hungry, all were starving that night. Some
body said : " There is plenty of meat across the river."
She said : " Who said that ?" Four times it was said, and
then she found out that it was the awl in the awl-case on
the wall that was talking. The cover had come off the
case, so the awl could talk out. She talked to the awl, but
he would not talk any more ; so she called the dogs out,
and they crossed the river on the ice. There were many
rabbits found there and one deer. She killed the deer,
and the old dogs got spry and killed the rabbits. They
had plenty of meat till spring came on.
All of the girls went out to get plums. Some of the
girls were going to get married. The girl-with-spots-on-
her-face was going to marry soon. A band came along.
It was an enemy's band of young men, and they chased
the girls. Some girls ran and got killed, and some hid
and got away home, and some hid and got caught. Three
girls got caught, and the girl-with-spots-on-her-face was
one of the girls to get caught. The young braves took
them home, and those girls belonged to those braves that
took them home. The girls were mad, but they could not
The Girl-with-Spots-on-her-Face. 93
help themselves at all ; but after a while the girl-with-spots-
on-her-face, she could help them. She made medicine in
the tent, when that brave that was her man she hated for
a husband was gone out. One night she made that man
sleep and all the people sleep, and she waked up those two
girls that were taken with her. They killed those three
men and no more, and she danced and sang with a corn-
ear in her arm to keep those folks asleep ; and they took
many ponies and went back to their own folks. The folks
were glad those girls got back, and the most for the girl
that did all for them to get back ; and the young man that
was her young man before she was stolen fluted her again.
But she told him : " Young man, stop that ! I don't want
you any more, because you did not come after me when I
was a prisoner to that man I killed." So he stopped, and
she would not have any man in that camp ; and she could
not get a man, till a big brave came from a tribe far off,
and she said : " Yes, I will go with this man." So she went
away, and it was a good thing for that tribe she went to.
The other girls, they married their men they had in the
first place to marry. They were not much of girls.
THE YOUNG MAN THAT KILLED HIMSELF
AND WAS MADE ALIVE AGAIN.
It was a long while back. Two young men made a
blood-friendship.1 One said : " Let us go out and steal
some horses." The other said : " Whooh ! yes, we will
go out and steal some horses." They went a long way
to where a camp was with many horses of the Kickapoos.
The horses were on one side of the camp and the men
watched them. " Let us wait till it is night," said the
1 " Blood-friendship " is made by the two interested scratching their left
wrists with a knife and holding them together, so that the blood may mingle.
This makes a tie closer than relationship. It must be between those of the
same sex. No one may have more than one blood-friend.
94 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
young man. " All right, let us wait." They waited.
They lay down in the long grass. When it was night,
one said : " I will go, you wait here." The other said : " No»
I will go." "No, I spoke first" So he went. He did
not come back in a long time, so the one who waited
killed himself. He could not live without his friend, he
could not go back. By-and-bye, the other came back.
He said : " I waited a long time, they watched too close,
I could not steal any." Then he found the other one, the
dead young man. He carried him a long way. He
stopped not at all till daylight, then he stopped under a
cotton-wood tree, the limbs high up. When he got his
strength back, he hung the dead one up to the high limbs,
he made medicine under him and made him alive. Then,
he let him down, and said : " Ain't you a nice fool making
me so much work to get all the pieces of your soul,1
because I waited for the camp to go sleep ? Well, now !
go back and get horses by yourself." Then that nice
fool went back, next night. He stole many horses and
gave half to that young medicine-friend that saved his
1 A suicide's soul explodes.
CATALOGUE OF MUSQUAKIE BEAD-
WORK AND OTHER OBJECTS.
THE objects here catalogued are not " merely pretty and
picturesque," they are. almost without exception, cere
monial. This statement is made for the sake of those
students of folk-lore who have warned collectors of wild
peoples' property that they should neglect the merely
pretty and picturesque, and gather in such objects as
are ceremonial, a fair enough warning till one comes to
realise that to the wild man surrounded by civilization
and making a stand against it, everything that pertains
to his free and savage past has become a ceremonial
object. The Musquakie, hating and repelling civilization,
yet, to an extent succumbing to his environment and
availing himself of its conveniences, buys his plate and
cup, his flour, his shabby, cheap clothes, all for everyday
use and wear, from the white trader ; but when the
time comes for his wedding and his burial, for the solemn
high festivals of his religion and their attendant
feasts, he must wear the garments his women make for
him, the ornaments fashioned by his skill and theirs, and
eat the food of his ancestors prepared in the old way
and served in the vessels that by usage have become
sacred. And as the husband is the wife is, with perhaps
an increase of affection for her gay garments, because
they enhance her good looks.
96 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
WOMAN'S OR GIRL'S DANCE COSTUME.
1. Silver Comb.
Even the silver comb, worn with as much vanity as a
white dame does a tiara of uncommon glitter, has a place
in the religious drama that claims so large a part of
Indian life ; for silver is " good medicine," and the wearing
of it helps in the propitiation of the Meechee Manito-ah
and the Ancestral Animals or Totems, almost as much
as do the dancing and prayers. In addition, silver in the
hair is a protection to the soul, which lies under the
scalp-lock in a little bulb. The teeth of the middle of
the comb are supposed to touch the soul ; for a squaw's
hair is parted and combed smoothly over her temples, and
kept in place by this silver thing, which goes over her
crown and almost to her ears.
2. Cloth Hair- Wrapper with Bead Embroidery.
A squaw's hair, after she attains to puberty, is clubbed
at the back and wrapped in this envelope, which has on
it a design that was " pow-wowed " by the shaman as a
woman did the embroidery. It is kept in its place by
a hair-string of woven beads.
This is a woman's most important possession, excepting
her " medicine." It is made for her by her mother or
grandmother, in what she tells the pale-face are " luck "
patterns. It also is much pow-wowed by the shaman,
and much disapproved of by the agents and missionaries,
who would gladly see the making of bead-work done
away with, and disapprove of the hair-string more than
the other varieties. By its aid its owner can work
sorceries ; or, if it is taken from her, by its aid she herself
is bewitched or enslaved. A woman will go from the
man she loves to a man she hates, if he has contrived
Catalogue of Musquakie Beadwork. 97
to possess himself of her hair-string ; and a man
will forsake wife and children for a witch who has
touched his lips with her hair-string. Half the folk-tales
concerning women have to do with the use or loss of it.
4. Wrapper and Hair-String. (Figs. 4a-g.)
The queue is rather grotesque when viewed by itself;
but when a row of girls are dancing, the wrappers dangling
at their shoulders and the hair-strings reaching almost
to their feet make a good effect. After marriage, a
woman generally leaves off this adornment. She may
lose, sell, or give away the wrapper, but it behoves her
to hide the hair-string in a secure place. After her death,
somebody finds it and presents it to a friend.
A squaw's hair-wrapper is a talisman. Her hair-string
is a talisman when it is first worn, but it becomes some
thing infinitely more sacred and precious, is transfused
with the essence of her soul, is — I know not whether to
say a part of herself, or her representative. If anyone gains
possession of it, he has her for an abject slave if he keeps
it, he kills her if he destroys it. Both hair-string and
wrapper are made for her by a relative, and are donned
by her at puberty. The wrapper is of black cloth with
a prayer embroidered on it. The string is of woven beads '•
black, if the family can possibly afford to have the shaman
pow-wow it, geometrical figures to show that the woman-
with-spots-on-her-face did likewise, and the symbol of her
mother's secret society. When she is dressed for her
wedding, she takes it off and hides it and not even her
husband may see it again or touch it.
The prayers said by the weaver (who must be her
mother, or one of her father's women-kin), the woman-
with-spots-on-her-face and the shaman, while a little
tobacco or a few blue beads are burned in the wigwam
fire, are, for the wrapper : — " Make her strong, make her
beautiful, give her a good husband, give her many fine
98 Folk- Lore of the M^csquakie Indians.
children, let her be pleasant to her husband, let her
husband be pleasant to her " ; for the hair-string : —
" Let her become a wise woman, a woman-with-spots-on-
her-face, let her keep herself above reproach, let her be
safe from witches and devils, let no one get her hair-string
away from her, let her not work sorcery by means of
her hair-string." A " woman-with-spots-on-her-face " is a
woman made fetish in her girlhood by having many
Religion dances given in her honour, each dance entitling
her to a spot.
Although No. 4 consists of one continuous strip with forked ends,
it may conveniently be described in two parts :
(a) A beaded band, 670 mm. long by 20 mm. broad, worked in the
pattern shown in Fig. 4a. The bead-work ends diagonally, and the
strings are woven on without the beads to a length of 440 mm. on
Catalogue of Musquakie Beadwork. 99
one side and a length of 108 mm. on the other. The lower portions
of these interwoven strings are enwrapped in blue ribbon, the free
ends of which are tied together, thus making the strip into a loop,
consisting of bead-work (Fig. 43.) and interwoven strings.
(&) Below the blue bow, the strings continue as a pair of similar
queues. Each queue begins with bead-work 20 mm. broad with
a ground of pink beads, and the pattern shown in Fig. 4b. After
a length of about 200 mm. the queues fork as at Fig. 4c, but the
same pattern continues until at 135 mm. lower down it changes
as at Fig. 4d. About 135 mm. beyond, the pattern changes to that
shown in Fig. 46, and 225 mm. lower down each strip forks as
shown in Fig. 4f. These 8 terminal portions are about 230 mm. in
length, 4 of them end in tassels of purple and orange ribbons, and 4
in blue and green ribbons, 45 mm. long.
The wrapper is of black cloth on the outside, and measures 375
mm. by 142 mm. The ends are bound with green ribbon. At each
end is an oblong panel of bead-work, one measuring 1 1 1 mm. by
67 mm., the other 98 mm. by 68 mm. Each is outlined by a row of
white beads. The design is the same in both, though the colours
vary. The smaller panel is shown in Fig. 4g.*
5. Silver Earrings.
6. Silver Finger Rings.
7. Silver Bracelets.
All silver ornaments are talismans and amulets. Silver
is "good medicine" always, and its potency is increased
and diverted when it is cut into jewellery
and graven with " luck " characters. The
work is done by a native smith, who does
not invoke the aid of the shaman.
Formerly, he bought his silver, in long
strips, from the Mexicans ; now he sends
to Colorado for it, and receives a purer
metal. Unfortunately, his skill is not what
1 In all the detailed figures the heraldic convention
for colour has been adopted, as is illustrated in the
accompanying figure. A further distinction has been
made by placing the lines close together when the
colour is dark and drawing them far apart when it is
ioo Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
it was ; so, old pieces like these are preferable to new ones.
The seller of such warns the buyer to clean them with
a lye of yucca or corncob ashes and water from a spring,
or caught as it fell from the clouds. Bracelets are better
medicine than other silver ornaments. The smith works
without patterns and with only a knife, hammer, and awl
8. Girl's Woven Bead Necklaces. (Figs.
The patterns indicate that the
over them : I could not learn what
8a measures 400 mm. long by 18 mm.
broad. The pattern is shown in Fig. 8a.
Sb measures 348 mm. long by 23 mm.
broad. The pattern is shown in Fig. 8b.
The oblique ends of the neck-bands are
bound with strips of leather which form the
9. Married Woman's Necklace. (Plate I., fig. 9.)
A married woman's necklace is always long, worn
loosely and with ends fastened together, while a girl's is
a tight band round the throat. A widow wears no woven
necklace ; but after the ghost has been carried away
she may adorn herself with many strands of beads and
The black colour is to show that the shaman pow-wowed
it ; the diamond figure is the symbol of her secret society,
the blue " heart " is help in the realisation of her maternal
aspirations. Long ago, the Indian wife wore turquoise
necklaces to increase her fertility ; now, glass beads of the
turquoise colour or much darker are considered as
Catalogue of Musquakie Beadwork. 101
efficacious. An old necklace (such as this is) which has
belonged to several mothers of large families is more
prized than a new one.
The weaver says, " Make me have children, give me
many children," hundreds of times, as she works. The
shaman mumbles so that no one knows what he says.
Sometimes, if a woman is anxious to possess an unusually
fine colt, she hangs her necklace round her pony's neck for
a few days.
The bead necklace is mo mm. long by 25 mm. broad. The inside
edges of the bands are sewn together for a distance of about 1 5 mm.
from their squared ends, which terminate side by side in tassels, 75
mm. long, consisting of complicated strings of turquoise blue beads.
The Pattern is shown on Plate I., fig. 9.
10. Strings of Glass Wampum.
Worn by young and old, married and single. Four
pounds are considered enough for one person to appear in.
The wampum, as well as the small beads for woven work
is imported from France by an old man who has had
a monopoly of the business among the allied tribes for
many years. He says he is told the beads are made
in Venice. He is a squaw-man (man with an Indian
wife), otherwise he would not have such a matter intrusted
11. Girl's or Woman's Sleeveless Bodice, Ornamented with
Silver Discs and Breastplates.
With this must be worn many silver bracelets, so
that from wrist to shoulder the arm is almost covered
with them. On all the silver pieces are lines which
are equivalent to prayers. This bodice is such good
medicine that one having it on cannot become ill, and
one who is ill can be helped by donning it. But for
such a help to the invalid it must be given or lent,
IO2 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
12. Girl's or Woman's Sleeved Bodice, Ornamented with
Spangles and Ribbon, and having Talisman of Bead
Embroidery on che Breast.
The little oblong talisman is supposed to cure pain
in the chest ; it was made by a " woman-with-spots-on-
her-face." The bodice itself has no special value.
13. Woman's or Girl's Doeskin Leggings, Painted and
14. Woman's or Girl's Dance-Skirt.
The embroidery is a good " medicine " pattern. It
is perhaps worthy of remark that the geometrical
patterns are " medicine," while the prettiest floral
designs are merely ornamental. If a dancer's skirt is
what it should be she will not trip in the dance, nor
lose step. Unless the garment is an heirloom, she
makes it herself. The embroidery is pow-wowed before
it is sewed on. The shaman's fee is generally a puppy
15, 15a. Women's Medicine-Bags. (Figs. 15, 15a.)
Next in importance to the " medicine " and hair-string
They become fetish from holding the " medicine." They
are not made with any ceremonies, but after they have
held the "medicine" for even a very short time, they so
partake of its character that they must be as carefully
concealed as it is. Ordinarily the bag and "medicine"
are worn under the left arm ; but if the woman has a
sick child, or one to be sent where there is danger, she
wraps the "medicine" in a rag and fastens it in the
child's scalp-lock, or under its arm, and hides the bag
in some cranny of the wigwam. If she is very sick her
medicine is rolled in her scalp-lock, while the bag
remains under her arm.
Catalogiie of Musquakie Beadwork. 103
15. Woman's Medicine Bag. (Fig. 15.)
Has the symbols of the-woman-with-spots-on-her-face
(geometrical figures) because it belonged to one. A
medicine bag is made very
privately and without any
ceremonies. It becomes
fetish only after it has held
the medicine; but it con
tinues so if the medicine is
taken out of it.
This bag is 90 mm. square. It
is made in two strips of bead-work,
70 mm. long and 45 mm. broad,
joined together side by side to
form one strip, which is shown
in Fig. 15. This strip is doubled
across the middle and sewn up
the sides to form the bag. It is
finished off at the top with a
thick roll of strings, round which is
wound a single string of blue beads.
The handle is of very long white
beads in imitation of dentalium
shells, separated by small red beads.
In Fig. 15 the whole pattern is
displayed, one half of which forms either side of the bag.
15a. Woman's Medicine Bag. (Fig. 15a.)
Has the symbol (waved lines) for running water. This
indicates that the " medicine " or fetish was taken from the
water. The pattern on the reverse side seems to be merely
IO4 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
This bag is made all in one piece, 220 mm. round the upper edge
and 95 mm. along the base line. The strings at the top are finished
off in buttonhole stitch.
The patterns are shown in Fig. I5a. The red zig-zags are so spaced
with brown thread that they appear brown in certain lights.
16. Woman's " Medicine." (Plate III., fig. 16.)
This is the object dreamed of when the woman had
her puberty-fast. It is her most precious fetish. If
she lose it she will have trouble, sorrow, need, sickness,
and every other adversity, ending in death, which will
not be a relief ; for her spirit must wander and search,
unable to set out for the Happy Hunting Ground until
it is found. If it should be destroyed she would die at
once, but her ghost would not be vexed. If she die
with it on, it may be given to a friend.
This specimen consists of a strip of fur 195 mm. long by 25 mm.
broad. It was originally cut into three tails 70 mm. from the base ;
one of these is torn away and the other two are sewn together for the
greater part of their length.
17. Woman's Buckskin Moccasins. (Plate IV.)
With bead embroidery. The wearer belonged to the
Eagle or Bird Clan, for she has her totem worked into
the pattern. For one not of the totem to wear them
would subject her to ridicule.
Right moccasin, 260 mm. long, 180 mm. broad across the flaps.
The ground of the left flap is of a deep red colour, the front triangular leaf
is green, the one below it is yellow, the upper hinder leaf is pale blue,
and the lower, violet. The ground of the right flap is turquoise blue ;
the front bird is green ; it is perched on a red leaf, the lower leaf being
violet ; the hind bird is pink, it is perched on a black leaf, the lower
leaf is yellow. On the top of the moccasin the central device is red, the
V-shaped area is light blue, the left side design is deep blue, the right
is green, the left-hind design is yellow, and the right, violet. All the
designs are outlined in white beads.
Catalogue of Musquakie Beadwork. 105
18. Buckskin Moccasins with Applique* Pattern of Silk.
The embroidery is merely for ornament. The
moccasins could be worn by anyone of either sex in
the tribe, if a man could keep them on. The woman,
the burden-bearer, generally has the larger foot.
19. Woman's or Girl's Cloth Blanket Ornamented with
Applique* of Ribbon.
As good a specimen of the garment as can now be
found. It is an imitation of the old-time whitened
buffalo-robe embroidered with porcupine quills ; but it
is an unworthy imitation at best, for the ancient model
had, beside the gaily painted quills, a border of the ivory
teeth of the elk and a fringe of scalps or dyed horse
hair. When the weather is fair, the blanket is doubled
and folded about the skirt. It is kept in place by a
woollen sash tied in front. When the weather is bad,
the wearer unfolds it and makes it serve as both cloak
20. Woman's or Girl's Sash made of Woollen Yarn.
It has the appearance of a tolerably complicated
knitting pattern ; but the fabricator works at it with
incredible swiftness, and never stops to count stitches.
The work is done with the fingers, without the aid of
needle or hook.
21. Bag in which Dance Costume is Packed when not Worn.
Woven with the fingers. The cotton threads are
fastened round wands set upright in the ground. The
yarn pattern is then filled in with the fingers.
MAN'S DANCE COSTUME AND ORNAMENTS.
22. Chiefs Scalp-lock Ornament. (Plate III., fig. 22.)
Eagle-feather set in bone, and tipped with red to show
that the wearer had killed a warrior. The bone socket
io6 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
is decorated with feather of " flicker " (golden-winged
woodpecker, Colaptes auratus}, a bird quite as revered
a magician as the red-headed species (Melanerpes
erythrocephalus). A scalp-lock ornament is kept with
great care, as it helps to protect the soul. As the
tearing out of the scalp-lock makes the soul at its root
slave of the one thus obtaining it, so the possession
of its ornament and shield, which has absorbed some of
its essence, gives the possessor the ability to send the
rightful owner brain fever and madness. Also the
eagle feather is a badge of rank, only an hereditary
chief and his relatives having the right to wear it. A
man takes the same care of his scalp-lock ornament that
a woman does of her hair-string. It is said that very
intimate friends, after mingling the blood as it flows
from their left wrists, have been known to exchange
ornaments as a further proof of their oneness of heart.
The total length of this specimen is about 440 mm. It consists ot
a large white feather with a brown tip inserted into a bird's bone tube
in which a pair of lateral holes are bored across the bone, correspond
ing holes also pass through the shaft of the feather ; below these the
bone is perforated by a slit in which is a piece of bent metal, at the end
of the bone is a pair of holes through which is passed a leather string.
The 'flicker' feather is inserted in one of the lower lateral holes.
The underside of the eagle-feather is decorated with a central plume
consisting, from below upwards, of white fur, hair dyed bright red, a
band sewed round with black fibre in which are inserted strips of white
porcupine quills arranged in bands, in the centre is a band of green
quills and the top is surmounted by white fur and red hair.
23. Youth's Hawk's Feather Scalp-lock Ornament decorated
with Beaded Ribbon. (Fig. 23; Plate III., fig. 23.)
Could be worn by any youth in the tribe, but after
he became a man he would not wear it. He dare not
destroy it; that might make his soul smaller; he would
hide it. The wearing of hawk's feathers makes a youth
Catalogue of Musquakie Beadwork. 107
It has symbols for the shaman and the-woman-with-
spots-on-her-face, showing that both pow-wowed the work :
I could not learn what the large figure meant.
This scalp-lock ornament (Plate III., fig. 23) consists
of a strip 740 mm. long by 12 mm. broad, which forks
after a distance of 575 mm. and each end terminates
in a tassel of red wool. At the other end, the leather
string which binds the end of the bead-work is fastened
to the shaft of a hawk's feather, the shaft being bound
with red ribbon. Some dyed feathers are sewn trans
versely to the hawk's feather.
The ground of the bead-work is in black, with a
pattern of turquoise blue diamonds with yellow centres,
which changes just above the fork into the pattern
shown in Fig. 23.
24. Scalp-lock Ornament of Dyed Hair.
Worn by the old men who cling to the
almost obsolete custom of having all the
hair, excepting the scalp-lock shaved off or
pulled out. Only one young man in the tribe 23
now has his hair so ornamented, and his father is blamed
for having it thus arranged for his puberty feast, though
all admit that it was the old custom.
25. Scalp-lock Ornament of Dyed Cow's Hair, Porcupine Quills,
and Feathers of Pinnated Grouse.
The feathers are a protection against sun-stroke.
26. Scalp-lock Ornament of Cow's Hair, Porcupine Quills, Bone
Wampum, Brass Beads, and Silver Plate with engraved
Arrows forming Rain-cross. (Plate V., fig. 26.)
Worn by a dancer in the Religion dance, when it is
given to bring on rain. A dangerous ornament for one
who should in anyway transgress the rules of the dance.
Nobody tells what the penalty would be. Probably only
a few of high degree know.
io8 Folk-Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
The length of this object from the top of the metal plate to the end
of the band is 466 mm. The silver plate measures 54 by 37 mm., it
is decorated with a crenulated line with a dot above each apex, two
crossed arrows with their points upwards are engraved in the centre,
and between these are four stars. Below the plate are three pieces of
bone wampum, 76-78 mm. long, above and below there are several
brass beads. Below is a leather band, 300 mm. long and 40-45 mm.
broad, on which are fastened six narrow leather bands, 245 mm. long,
covered with bright red quill-work. On the six bands there are two
similar designs each of which consists of four parallel white bands and
two shorter bands above and below these ; all are bounded above and
below by a narrow green quill band ; on each side of the two central
white bands is an orange band. The sides of the main band are
provided with three pairs of looped strips of red quill-work, the end of
each strip terminates in a metal bugle, from which depends a tuft of
orange hair. Below the six long bands are six short bands 40 mm.
long, also bound round with bright red quill-work. Each long and
short band terminates in a metal bugle from which depends a tuft of
deep red hair. The large tuft of cow's hair dyed orange is about 500
mm. in length, and is attached to the back of the main band a short
distance above its lower end.
27. Shaman's Scalp-lock Ornament. (Plate V., fig. 27.)
The silver plate is tied at the root of the scalp-lock.
Below the plate dangle a small wand ornamented with
silver, ermine, and feathers, and strips of mink-fur held
together by beads. The value of silver as " medicine"
has already been referred to ; but the ordinary tribes
man seems not to know why his shaman pays the Ute
or Sioux the price of a horse for the skin of a stoat or
ermine. The value of feathers is better understood by
the common people. Many folk-tales are of the good
fortune attendant on those who have a feather from the
plumage of these sorcerers that are birds or men at
will. Of course, the feathers are fetish. So too is mink-
fur. The " old man " wears this ornament on occasions
of ceremony. Sometimes, when he is dancing before a
sick person he takes it off, caresses and whispers to the
little wand, and then replaces it on his head. For
Catalogue of Musquakie Beadwork. 109
ordinary wear he has a silver disc the size of a crown-
piece at the root of his scalp-lock, to conserve the
powers of his soul.
The circular silver plate is 64 mm. in diameter ; near its margin is
engraved a scalloped circle ; the space within this is filled by a large
six-pointed plain star, in the centre of which is a small star (this alone
appears in the figure) ; the spaces between the rays of the large star
are filled by fine zigzag engraving.
The wand, which is about 220 mm. long (excluding the feathers), is
made of wood and bound round with black fibre, with two series of
vertical oblongs of quill-work, the oblongs being white above and red
below on one side and red above and white below on the other. In
the centre is an octagonal silver buckle incised with a scalloped circle,
at each end a band of white fur and a tuft of green and white
The two fur pendants are 645 mm. long and are circular in section ;
80. mm. from the top they are bound with several rows of variously
coloured beads ; 265 mm. from the top is a length of white and violet
bead- work, consisting of violet squares on a white ground and of white
squares on a violet ground ; near the end are three rows of bead-work,
the upper one is pink with green diamonds, the central is very dark
violet with yellow diamonds, and the lowermost yellow with dark
violet diamonds (the two lower bands appear uniform in the photograph,
though they are very distinct in the original). From the lower
border depend four leathern strings which end in metal bugles. The
two fur pendants are fastened together above, and at this spot hang
down two flat leathern strings (260 mm. long), the upper portion of
each of which is sewed with yellow porcupine quill-binding, and six
short leathern strings which terminate in metal bugles.
28. Scalp-lock worn as Soul-protector. (Plate V., fig. 28.)
After a dance, or other ceremonial that calls the people
together, the hospitably inclined make feasts for their
friends. After a feast, at a given signal — a war-whoop
or drum-tap — the squaws throw sods on the fire, the
young men throw down and trample the torches. Then,
in the darkness, anyone may attempt to tear a lock
from any scalp. A few bold squaws go lock-hunting,
but the majority and all the children run to the wigwams.
iio Folk-Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
Now and then one of the Amazons has a tress torn out,
but it is not of much value. The men carry knives
with which they cut the lock they tear out, if it is held
in a braid or bound fast in any way at the lower end.
It is not considered "good form" to take a lock large
enough to leave a conspicuous bald spot. After the
melee, everybody goes off in the best possible humour.
Many Musquakies disapprove of the custom. Those
who approve say that the little lock is a preventive of
madness, melancholia, cowardice, and dotage.
The total length is 600 mm. and the breadth 12 mm. The pattern
consists of a zigzag band, the upper part of which is red and the lower
pink with blue central spots, the intervening triangles are dark blue.
The hair does not look like human hair.
29. Bead Head-bands with pattern showing Secret Society
Emblems, (a. Plate I., fig. 29; b. fig. 29b.)
29a. Head-band with Pattern showing Wearer's Degree in
It belonged to a man high in the Fish or Water clan,
and has in it the cross, the symbol of the Rain-Serpent
Every clan is said to have in its highest degree devotees of
the Rain-Serpent ; but it is considered to be most propi
tious to the Fish clan. The Serpent, one must remember,
is not a Totem, but a malignant being that all the Totems
are entreated to assist in placating ; and the supposed
favour it shows the Fish clan raises this clan in times of
drought or excessive rains above even the Eagle clan.
Consequently, this degree of the cross in the clan above-
mentioned is the most important in the tribe. Though
the members of it deny every assertion made about
it by gossips, there is a belief current that their rites are
phallic. When there is to be a Religion dance to bring on
rain, there are, beforehand, many meetings of the men who
wear these symbols on their heads or legs, with the Fish
clansmen in the lead. As they go to the wigwam where they
Catalogue of Musquakie Beadwork. 1 1 1
hold the meetings, they have a boy walking before them
with a live snake (a water-moccasin, or rattle-snake) in a
basket ; and they hum an air without words, and make
gestures that at any other time would be considered in
excusably indecent. At the door of the wigwam they take
the snake from the boy and send him away. When asked
why the cross symbolises the great serpent that controls
the water supply of the heavens and the earth, the women
explain that a long time ago Manito-ah laid a stick across
the serpent in reminder that it was not all-powerful, but
must yield to him ; the men say they
This band is 570 mm. in circumference by
30 mm. The ground is of white beads, with
alternate blue and white beads along the
margin. The design is shown in Pate I., fig. 29.
29b. "Luck" Pattern in Head-band.1
This pattern appears in both leg and
head bands. Nothing could be learned
of it except that it was sure to bring
good luck to the wearer. When asked
if it were a society band, everyone pre
tended not to understand the question,
but both men and women said, " Luck
band, luck band, bring heap good luck."
No. 290 measures 565 mm. by 44 mm. and
is fastened together at the ends by strings.
The pattern is shown in Fig. 29b.
1 There is another bead head-band which is more than a mere ornament. Its
pattern is a bright butterfly on a blue ground. It is worn to cure headache.
It is noteworthy because there is a belief prevalent among the Musquakies that
while the body sleeps the soul sometimes escapes from the bulb at the root of
the scalp lock and wanders about in the form of a butterfly. In consequence
of this belief it is considered wrong to wake a friend suddenly, lest his soul
might be absent and he thus be rendered idiotic. Of course it is meritorious
to surprise an enemy out of his wits. The homeless butterflies are greedily
sought and eaten by devils, as the eating of souls increases their power.
ii2 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
30. Silver Head-band worn as Talisman.
Prevents diseases of the head and blindness.
31. Silver Earrings.
32. Silver Earrings.
33. Shell Wampum Earrings.
34. Necklace of Beads with Carved Bone Ornament.
The blue beads are fetish, because they are an imita
tion of turquoise. Long ago, the old people say, they
made perilous trips to the southwest and obtained tur
quoise, and made it into beads that kept off every
misfortune. It is singular that the glass imitation is
considered as efficacious.
35. Necklace of Glass Wampum.
Worn at dances and feasts, and by both sexes. Men
make presents of it as if it were genuine wampum, but
they never throw it on the council-fire.
36. Necklace of "Dutch" or Bone Wampum, and Beads.
Bone wampum is now made in Connecticut and sold
by the Indian agents. Tradition says it was first manu
factured by the Dutch of New York to take the place
of the precious clam-shell wampum of the natives. It
is worn by dancers, and given as presents to those who
take part in the Religion dance.
37. Necklace of Shell Wampum.
Made of the shells of a species of land snail. Worn
at the dances and used as money.
38. Necklace containing all the most precious kinds of Wam
pum — Ivory, Cowrie, Snail-shell, White and Purple Clam
shell, and Brass Beads made by the native smiths
Four beads of the purple- wampum are cast into the
great council-fire every time it is lighted. They are
made from the purple spot, or " eye," of the clam-shell.
Catalogue of MusquaKie Beadwork. 1 1
A whole day's work is required for one bead. This
necklace is considered worth a herd of ponies, each bead
being worth a pony or ten dollars, a pony being a
standard of value. The necklace was obtained from the
widow of a chief. She declared it was genuine when
asked if it was not a glass imitation. The purple bead
and the white one at the fastening are undoubtedly
genuine clam-shell ; but the others are suspiciously pretty
and regular. They are said to have belonged to Black
Hawk — the whole necklace, not merely one sort of beads.
When, where, and how the long ivory beads were made
has been forgotten. The material for the brass beads
came from a battle-field. The cowries, so the Musquakies
say, were a long time ago spit into a chief's hand by
a man who immediately after ran away.
39. Silver Finger-rings.
Turtle and Eagle totems are engraved on them. Turtle
rings are worn by members of the Fish or Water Clan
to insure long life. The Eagle ring merely indicates the
clan of the owner, and does not affect his health or fortune.
40. Silver Bracelets.
" Whoo-lau-kee-chee" in the Musquakie tongue, meaning
sacred or holy band. The same term is applied to a
dancer's bead-garter. The plural is whoo-lau-kee-chee-oc.
Considered very good medicine.
41. Bracelets of Porcupine-quills.
" W hoo-lau-kee-chee-oc? The name seems to indicate
that the shape of the ornament, and not its material,
makes it "medicine."
A garment bought from a white trader, and made
worthy to be worn in the dances by the work of men
and women Musquakies, the men making the silver discs
and large beads, the women the embroidered " breast-
ii4 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
plate" which (with the shaman's pow-wow assisting) is
a protection from diseases of the lungs.
43. Embroidered "Breastplate."
Pattern merely ornamental, but the materials were
" pow-wowed " as used in it ; it is a protection from diseases
of the lungs.
Worn on the breast as protection from diseases of
45. Talisman to be worn on the
Breast as protection against
Consumption. (Fig. 45.)
The arrow in the embroidery
is to intimidate the devil that
enters by a man's mouth (if he
leave it open when he sleeps),
and gnaws his lungs. Indians
as often die of horror of their
devil as of the consumption
The breastplate of bead-work, 125
mm. by 80 mm., is sewn on to a
strong foundation of leather. The
pattern is shown in Fig. 45.
46. Zerape of Buckskin with Sioux Embroidery.
Must have been a present from a Sioux visitor, though
a Musquakie wore it many times in the dances, where
it was distinguishable from other such garments by the
beadwork, but not by the material or shape.
47. Treaty-Belt of Glass Wampum passed from the Sacs to
the Musquakies. (Plate VI., fig. 47.)
One precisely like it was passed from the Musquakies
to the Sacs. With the exception that the pattern is
brown, instead of purple, it is a very good copy of the
treaty-belts sent to the first white settlers with whom
Catalogue of Mitsquakie Beadwork. 115
the Musquakies had dealings. In general effect, it re
sembles the still more ancient belts of braided brown
bark with a decoration of white shell-wampum. This
belt is said to be old — as old as the affiliation of the
tribes ; but no one puts a date on its manufacture. At
any rate, it is not new, for the beads are falling apart
from the rottenness of the thread on which they are
strung. It was formerly worn by the head-chief at his
council. It was sold as a revenge for the affront of the
Sacs on the Nemaha Reservation, who endeavoured to
have the few Musquakies on that reservation expelled.
The length is 1,450 mm. and the average breadth 100 mm. The
pattern is made of brown transparent beads while the ground is made
of opaque white beads.
48. Bead-Belt recounting Tribal History. (Fig. 48 ; Plate VII.,
Worn during the dancing by
a young chief, but held in the
hands by the tribal historian as
he stands by the council-fire
recounting what it commemo
rates. Its story is of the flights
of the tribe, westward from the
Iroquois, eastward and south
ward from the Sioux, and
northward from the Shawnees.
It is not so interesting as the
great belts that tell of the
kindnesses of the lowas and
Ojibways ; but these cannot
be bought, nor coaxed away
The belt has a story which
is duly recounted by the tribal
historian as he holds it up
before the people gathered about the council-fire, but
1 1 6 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
he does not seem to be reading it from the pattern
into which the beads are woven. He speaks as
follows : " Rough was the trail, broken was the trail,
hard for the young braves to go over, too hard for the
old men, the women and the children to flee along. Cold
were the days, and the nights colder and with storms. At
first came rain, and then the snow followed. The snow
was thick in the air, on the ground ; we went like blind
men, like lame men, stumbling and falling. It was hard
going for the pursuers, whose bellies were broad with meat
arid corn ; it was harder for us who fled from their great
numbers with our belts tightened on our emptiness, with
our legs grown thinner than a deer's legs, and our short
breaths bursting our breasts. Many babies died on their
mothers' backs. Mothers died, and there was none to take
up their live babies. Many children fell and could not get
up. The old people fell down and died. If any fell and
did not die, the friends clubbed them out of pity and went
on. There was no food. There was no fire. The people
ate roots ; they ate bark and worms, if they could find any
in the bark. The enemy came nearer. They came nearer.
They sang songs louder than the wind ; they gave the
war-cry loud and terrible. Our men were poor in mind :
our women began to sing their death-songs back of the
tongue, because they could not speak out ; they could not
raise the voice. All the children had died. All the old
people had died, and many young mothers and braves.
None might stop and mourn for the dead ; they received
no honour, they lay unburied ; they were not started on
the Ghost Road, the road to the Happy Hunting Ground.
Never have they been sent to the Happy Hunting Ground.
We shall not see them again, we cannot find them."
(Sounds of mourning from .the assemblage.) "But the
good Manito-ah had not forgotten us. The good Manito-ah
had the hard life and the poor mind (grief, melancholy) of
his people in remembrance. He sent buffalo to meet them,
Catalogue of Musquakie Beadwork. 1 1 7
many and easy to kill, buffalo with fat humps and delicate
tongues to nourish the people. We had much meat, meat
in plenty; there was plenty of dried meat, of pounded
meat, till the warm winds came ; the birds came and the
deer. The enemy ceased from following. The people
waited in pleasant places. The grass grew, they made
wigwams of the grass. They had berries, they had plums
and nuts. The women bore children. The new-born
children were fat, they were strong, they threw out their
arms, they kicked with their strong legs when they were
newly born." (Grunts of satisfaction from the audience.)
" The enemy came, the Dacotahs. They were hunting
when they came upon us. They came upon us in the
Moon of Nuts (October). They made war parties. They
were very many. Our people had not enough young men
to kill them and take their wives and horses. Our people
went away. They went back on the old trail. They heard
the ghosts calling. They were poor in mind when they
heard the ghosts calling, they turned from the old trail.
They went along the great river, they faced the south
wind. They went a long journey. They went to the
Shawnees. The Shawnees were very pleasant. They met
our people, the fleeing people ; they comforted us. They
built fires. All night they cooked the pounded corn, the
fat of deer and the flesh of young dogs. They fed us till
our bellies were tight with cooked food and plums mixed
with cherries. Very many were the bowls of food they
gave ; very fine were the new clothes they gave, and beds
of furs and robes well tanned. Our people had friendship
with them a long time ; we went out with them to hunt, to
steal from their enemies, to kill their enemies and count
coup x on them and bring back their scalps. The Kickapoos
spoiled the friendship. They told crooked words (lies) on
our people ; they put on moccasins like ours and made
1 Not the man who kills, but the man who first touches the body gets the
credit of the killing.
1 1 8 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
trails to the springs ; they spoiled the springs ; they killed
some of the old blind people of the Shawnees, and the
tracks (footprints) were like ours. The Shawnees were
deceived ; they had the bad heart toward us, they drove
us out. No more we hunted together ; no more we made
war parties together and scalped the enemies and counted
coup, and brought back the scalps for the girls to dance
with. We were not many warriors ; though the women
had borne many children, they had not yet grown up. We
were a little people, though strong in heart, a very valiant
people. We were driven away, we had to go away. We
went away again fleeing by night and by day. We followed
the river, and came into a pleasant country having fruit
and nuts, having buffalo, having fish in the waters, having
many birds, and beasts with furs, and earth suitable for the
women to sow with corn and melons. We were in this
good country a long time. We have come back to it.
Many children have grown up here ; we are now a great
people, the tribe is strong. All this the belt tells, the belt
woven in the house of the historian, as he desired it to be
woven, as he commanded it to be woven, as he commanded
the old woman to weave it, as the old woman, She-an-o-ah,
wove it as he commanded, in the old time, telling about
the old time, not the oldest time of all, the time of the
Brothers before all other times."
The bead- work of this belt is 570 mm. long by 76 mm. broad, and
the square ends are finished off with a fringe of red wool. Each
fringe consists of seven braids of wool, into which the weaving strings
are plaited for a short distance after which the long ends of the wool
are left loose. The entire fringe is 320 mm. long at one end and 380
mm. long at the other. The belt is shown on Plate VII., fig. 48, and
the detail is shown in Fig. 48.
49. Bead-belt with Secret Society Emblems. (Fig. 49.)
I cannot find out anything about this belt, except that it
belonged to a Fish Clan man of high degree and that it has
the cross, the symbol of the Rain Serpent.
Catalogue of Musquakie Beadwork. 119
This belt is 790 mm. long by 70 mm. broad, with a partly braided
fringe of various brightly coloured wools looped round the binding of
calico, which borders the square ends. The pattern is shown in Fig. 49.
50. Bead-belt with Secret Society Emblems. (Fig. 50.)
Each of the seven clans of the Musquakies has its
secret society ; and each society has its emblems, which
are displayed in the painted dots and lines on the faces
of its members, and in the belts they wear at the dances.
I cannot find out anything about the patterns in this belt.
The belt is 1020 mm. long by 76 mm. broad. The square ends are
finished off with fringes consisting of 9 plaits of red wool and yellow
I2O Folk-Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
beads. In each fringe the 3 central plaits appear to have been made
shorter than the others and without beads, the outer plaits have
alternate lengths of braided wool and beads. Each plait ends in a
tassel of red wool. In the beaded plaits a double row of beads placed
alternately to one another is made by threading a bead on to each
outside string of the plait. Below this pattern (which occurs at the
top of most of the braided elements of the fringe) are alternate lengths
of unbeaded braiding and two or three lengths consisting of three
single rows of beads (5-11 in number) threaded on the three strands
of the plait, and themselves treated as half of the cycle of a plait.
51. Bead-belt with Secret Society History in the Pattern.
(Fig. 51a, 51b ; Plate VII., fig. 51.)
Such belts are owned by the shamans of the secret
Catalogue of Musquakie Beadwork. 1 2 1
societies. It is said that at the meetings of a society,
the shaman takes off his belt, holds it in his hands
and recounts the history for which it stands, but this
is merely hearsay; no secret society man either affirms
or denies it. The secret of the belt is jealously kept
by those who know it. It is utterly impossible to learn
what the patterns stand for. No one outside the cult will
know until the Musquakies give up the ancient religion.
This belt consists of a band 810 mm. long with an average breadth
98 mm. terminating at each end in 4 narrow strips, about 350 mm.
long (but the length is variable) and 18 mm. broad. Each of these
strips forks 65-70 mm. from the ends, which are finished off with
tassels, averaging 150 mm. in length, made of red wool. The pattern
of the broad belt is shown in Plate VII., fig. 51, and the details are
shown in Figs. 5ia and 5ib, the latter being the central design.
Owing to the imperfections of the photographic process the patterns
of the narrow strips do not appear in the plate ; the patterns are
practically similar in all the strips, though the colours vary : the
outermost strip at each end has a black design on a yellow ground ;
the next one has a violet design on a yellow ground ; the next one
a torquoise blue design on a pink ground ; the innermost one a black
design on a lavender blue ground.
52. Killikinnick Bag (Plate VI. fig. 52) and Society Belt.
These bags hang from the belts of the dancers as
conveniences as well as ornaments. They hold, besides
the killikinnick or sacred tobacco (which is more red
willow bark and partridge-berry leaf than tobacco), a
variety of amulets, such as the stone from the eye of
a catfish, a round pebble and stone awl. When not
worn, they serve as cases to pack the belts in. Some
are of bead-embroidered buckskin ; but the very old
ones are made from the larger intestine of the buffalo,
and decorated with quill embroidery.
This bag is made of a folded piece of soft buckskin, the two edges
of which are dentated and sewn together to form one side of the bag.
The top upper trefoils of the bead-work on the figured side are
torquoise blue, the stems and base are violet, the central trefoil is deep
red, the two downwardly projecting lobes are green, the lower side
122 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
leaves are yellow and the lowermost blue and black. On the other
side of the bag is a different design. At the neck of the bag is a
leathern fringe and above this an interrupted double row of beads, the
upper beads being yellow and the lower green. At the bottom of the
bag, the two folds are cut into a double fringe with eight flaps on each
side ; these are bordered with beads on the figured side, the colours
are two black, two white, two red, and two green : on the other side
the colours are more varied. The total length of the bag is 470
mm. and its breadth 200 mm.
53. Youth's Bead-belt of Two Patterns. (Plate I., fig. 53 ;
Plate VII., fig. 53.)
The two patterns indicate that he has lost his father by
death or divorce, and has, consequently, gone over to his
mother's clan, that is, has become according to tribal law,
the son of his maternal grandfather or uncle. Half of the
belt is like his father's, the other half like his grandfather's.
The patterns are the symbols of the secret societies of
the youth's father and nearest male relative of his mother.
Each pattern symbolises not only a clan society but also
the degree to which the father or maternal relative had
attained. Indian children as a rule are fond of ornament.
But no boy willingly wears such an one as this ; he is
ashamed of being what his white brother would call a
" turncoat/' and his red companions scoff at as " the boy
who has changed his clan like a girl who has married."
In addition to showing what the father's clan and degree
were and the mother's next of male kin are (the father
having been lost by death or divorce), the belt has its story
which is duly related to its unfortunate possessor by his
mother, or grandmother, or whosoever wove it. Here is
the story of this belt, which belonged to George Little-
River till he was a man and released from guardianship :
" The story of Little-River, his story when he is Little-
River of the Fish Clan, his story when he was Brown
Hawk of the Eagle Clan. He is his father's child, Big
Catfish's child. He is his mother's child, Sweetwater's
child, she bore him. She is the daughter of Big Catfish.
Catalogue of Musquakie Beadwork. 123
He has her in his wigwam, he has Little-River in his wig
wam. Little-River was not there always, he was in the
wigwam of his father, in the wigwam of Green Hawk, his
father. Green Hawk died, he went over the Ghost Road,
he waited for no one. A devil in his breast killed him, a
little devil, little and stubborn. It would not come out, it
would not come out for the shaman or the dancers ; he
died by it, though much was spent that the shaman and
the dancers might overcome it. He was a brave man.
Green Hawk was a brave man, he was a warrior terrible to
his enemies, but he could not kill the little devil, he could
not overcome it. Great was the mourning for him, Sweet-
water and his friends wept blood for him. Now she
has gone back to her clan, the clan she was born in, her
father's clan, the clan of Big Catfish, her father. She has
taken the boy to the clan ; he is of the clan ; his name is
Little-River ; he is the beloved of his people ; he has for
gotten his father, Green Hawk's people ; they are his
relatives no more. He is truly a son of Big Catfish ; his
belt puts him in mind of Green Hawk, but Green Hawk's
people are not his people. Happy is Big Catfish that he
has a young son for his old age. The belt tells it, it tells
There is no secrecy about this recital, anyone is welcome
to hear it. It is chanted instead of spoken, and is never
varied by a syllable.
The bead-work of the belt which is shown in Plate VI L, fig. 53, is 866
mm. long with an average breadth of 45 mm., and is worked on black
threads. The patterns on the two halves of the belt are quite different,
the junction of the two patterns and the colour scheme of the belt are
shown in Plate I., fig. 53. The lower portion is divided into 4 by the
colours of the ground-work, which is black and light blue alternately.
On the black background is a pair of central yellow designs, next to
these are similar designs in blue, and beyond again are pink. On
one blue background is a pair of central designs in black, next to
these are similar designs in yellow, and beyond again are pink.
The terminal blue portion has a pair of red and yellow designs and is
124 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
54. Man's Medicine Bag. (Fig. 54.)
Has the symbols for woman- with-spots-on-her-face,
probably, because she made it ; of the shaman, from the
idea, perhaps, that any black beads would be lucky, and a
representation of an animal which I was told was the
owner's totem. This statement I put no faith in, as the
creature depicted bears a slight resemblance to a mountain
lion and none to the Musquakie totems, which are Eagle,
Fox, Bear, Antelope, Beaver, Fish, Raccoon.
This bag is no mm. long and 98 mm. deep, and is made all in one
piece. The top is bound with black ribbon, bordered on its lower
edge with an incomplete row of beads. The base of the bag is bound
with a piece of dark green ribbon, the ends of which project 40 mm.
beyond the bag on either side. The ribbon is bordered by rows of
variously coloured beads. Fig. 54 shows the design on both sides.
55. " Medicine." (Plate III., fig. 55.)
This eagle's claw was worn as a " medicine " because
the owner of it, at the time of his puberty fast, dreamed
of an eagle. Before he could be recognized as a man by
the tribe, he must have obtained some portion of the bird
without harming or causing another to harm it ; though,
if he saw a bird killed by a hunter who had no know
ledge of his need, he might secretly possess himself of
a feather or claw ; or, it would be no crime for him to
steal an old feather, bone, or claw, even from the head-
Catalogue of Musquakie Beadwork. 125
chief. Ordinarily, if one desire a thing-, it is enough to
say to the owner " I dreamed of this, give it me " ; but
for the life-medicine this may not be, as no one may
know what the medicine is till death reveals the secret.
56. Shaman's Medicine-bag. (Fig. 56.)
An inconvenient size for carrying inside the shirt, but
there it must be kept. Besides his " medicine," it should
contain a number of amulets, packets
of squirrel, grouse, woodpecker, duck,
and cuckoo or "rain-crow" bones,
and a pipe or tube for sucking the
demons of disease from the bodies
of the sick.
It has a pattern commonly used on
moccasins. It was a gift to the shaman from a woman
who believed his pow-wow cured her lame foot.
This bag without a handle measures 165 mm. by 125 mm., it is
made on strong leather and lined with red flannel, the bead- work is on
one side only. It consists of four broad bands of pink diamonds on a
violet ground, separated by yellow bands with black squares or
rhomboids, as shown in Fig. 56. The base of the bag has a double
leathern fringe, the ends of which are 15 mm. long and 70 mm. long
respectively, and the longer strips bear metal bugles at their ends.
From one side of the upper edge of the bag depend three strings of
alternate plaited red wool and yellow beads, each ending in a red
tassel, the strings being essentially similar to those which form the
fringe of No. 50.
57. Pipe or Tube for sucking Disease from the Bodies of the
Sick. (Plate III., fig. 57.)
The shaman, after some hours of dancing, singing, and
praying around his patient, announces that the devil is
now stupefied, and that the time has come to draw him
out. He then bares the afflicted part of the body, applies
the pipe, and sucks with great vigour. From time to time
he turns his back to the invalid, spits, shakes his head
at the result, and falls to sucking again. Finally, he
126 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
announces to the patient and those waiting at the door
of the wigwam that he now has the disease-devil, at the
same time displaying in his palm a spider, toad, or other
little ugly insect or reptile. Immediately the patient is
forsaken, all the friends and spectators, led by the shaman
himself, escort the devil across a stream of running water.
The shaman drops it, then all race back, hand over mouth,
lest the devil enter one of them. The pipe is purified by
being laid on a hot stone encircled by embers, on which
tobacco is sprinkled. After the purification, the pipe is
returned to the bag under the shaman's arm.
The tube is made of a grained grey stone and is 125 mm. in length ;
at one end is an old fracture. The tube is oval in section with flattened
sides, the bore is oval at the smaller end and circular at the broken
58. Leggings of Fringed Doeskin.
Evidently an old pair, for they are beautifully tanned.
The tanning shows that it is the work of a Musquakie
woman, the women of this tribe having been famous for
their skill at this work. Now they have no deer, and in
consequence buy their skins from the Utes, who misuse a
skin so that it looks brown and woolly. The Musquakie
women have lost the secret of their tanning.
59. Breech-clout or Gee-string of Embroidered Cloth.
Sold by its former owner, a proof that environment
affects even a Musquakie. A decade ago a man would
have parted with his scalp-lock almost as readily as with
this article of his attire. When one was too shabby to
wear it was burned, and the ashes scattered. It was a
thing to conjure by, and is yet with the old people. Who
soever obtained it had the owner in his power.
60. Pair of Leg-bands or Garters. (Plate II., fig. 60.)
" Whoo-lau-kee-chee " is the name applied indifferently to
this indispensable article of a dancer's dress, and to brace-
Catalogue of Musquakie Beadwork. 1 2 7
lets. It is a holy name, the Musquakie will tell you, and
not to be uttered lightly. A garter is fetish, woven with
many prayers and incantations, the shaman being as busy
day after day as the woman who weaves the beads. The
pair sometimes matches the sash in colour, but never does
in pattern. The pattern may be the dancer's society-
emblem or merely ornamental, but prayers must go into
every inch of it. If the prayers were omitted at any stage
of the work, the dancer who wore the garters would spoil
the dance by stumbling or making mistakes in the evolu
tions. The garters are tied over the leggings below the
knee, and the fringed ends hang in a long tassel at the
outer side of the leg.
In No. 60 the pattern is said to represent the dance-
house. Why, no one can explain, as the dance-house is
always either round or oval. The small crosses in the
diamond figure are to show that the owner has danced
for rain, in the Religion dance given by his secret society,
and been successful in producing it. The colours, red,
blue and green, yellow and white, represent the cardinal
points ; blue or green (considered one colour) representing
the north, yellow the east, white the south, red the west.
This means that the dancer has gone around the dance-
house without making a mistake.
The weaver's prayer, sung over and over as long as the
work goes on, is not displeasing to the ear the first few
times it is heard, but, undoubtedly, the good Manito-ah
must be considered by his devotees to have cultivated
his patience at the expense of his taste for music, if one
may judge by the effect of hundreds of repetitions of the
said prayer on an ordinary listener.
The prayer, " Whoo-lau-kee-chee, whoo-lau-kee-chee-oc
(oc is the plural termination), whoo-lau-kee-chee, whoo-
lau-kee-chee-oc. Best dancer of all, best dancer of all,
pleasing to Manito-ah, pleasing to Manito-ah, who will
make him lead perfectly, who has made him lead perfectly,
128 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
who will make his legs more supple, who will make his
legs more supple, who will make him lead perfectly, who
will make him turn perfectly, who will make him lead
perfectly, who will make him turn perfectly because he
has already done well, because he has already highly
honoured Manito-ah in the dance. Help him, good
Manito-ah, continue to help him, good Manito-ah, help
the dancer, good Manito-ah, and help the old woman to
weave his beads well that they may have no fault in
them, but be perfectly done and increase his strength."
The bead- work of the leg-bands measures 313 mm. by 72 mm. and
the fringe 350 mm. The design is shown in Plate II., fig. 60. The
fringe consists of nine braids of wool into which the weaving strings
are plaited for a short distance, after which the long ends of the wool
are left loose. The outermost and central plaits are blue, the remain
ing ones are red.
61. Pair of Leg-bands or Garters. (Plate II., fig 61.)
It was worn by Blue Water, a member of the Fish Clan.
He discarded it when he attained to high rank in his
society. One might call it a beginner's band, though
beginners and experts alike wear patterns, if they choose,
which are merely ornamental. The black colour in it is
"the shaman's colour." Wherever it appears it indicates
that the shaman has prayed over the work.
The bead-work of the leg-band is 312 mm. long by 72 mm. broad,
and the fringe of plaits and loose ends of red wool is 325 mm. in length.
62. Leg-band made without the Shaman's Symbol. (Plate II.,
The pattern is said to be merely ornamental and worn
by a poor man because he could not afford to pay the
The bead-work of the leg-bands is 325 mm. long by 40 mm. broad,
and the fringe, consisting of 7-9 plaits of red wool with loose ends is
288 mm. long. The pattern at each end is shown in Plate II., fig. 62 ;
in the centre is a similar blue design, to the apices of the outer
triangles of which is added the design shown at the bottom of the
Catalogice of Musquakie Beadwork. 129
63. Leg-band worn to prevent Child from having the Measles.
(Plate II., fig. 63.)
Symbol of " the-woman-with-spots-on-her-face," or her
protecting power. The pattern is taken from the little
wooden cubes and triangles she makes, and paints
according to her fancy, and then hides in a cranny of her
wigwam. Of the objects1 she has as many as she has
spots on her face, and the more she has the greater her
power and the more potent the talisman she has not
only prayed over but " put herself into " by allowing the
bead worker to see the objects and picture them. Only
one leg-band of this description is put on a child.
This band, which measures 165 mm. long by 27 mm. broad, is tied
on to the leg by a central plait of strings at each end. Above and
below this central plait are beaded plaits with double rows of beads as
described under No. 50. At one end the bead plaits are alternately pink
and dark blue, and at the other end mostly pink. Each plait ends in
three beaded strings.
64. Baldrick and Pocket. (Figs. 64a-64d.)
The Indians have no adequate translation of their name
for this showy article of dress. Some say, "Maybe so,
sack," but the greater number decline to give it an English
name. They call it " wo-yoo" hider, or a place to hide
things. In an involved explanation of its uses they so
define it, but they will not call it " the hider " in so many
words. They keep in it such things as one finds in a
I cannot find out anything about this, very few men
The baldrick measures mo mm. in length and 120 mm. in breadth,
exclusive of the scalloped border of blue beads. The bead-work is
mounted on the selvage of a black blanket with a green border. The
ends are bound with green ribbon and the sides with red, beyond
which projects a scalloped border of blue beads. The centre of the
baldrick at the back of the neck has the design shown in Fig. 64c, and
1 The low-class women of the tribe declare that the women-with-spots play a
gambling game with one another using these objects, but this the women them
130 Folk-Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
the pattern all down the left side is that shown in the lower half|of the
figure. For half the length, the ground colouring is the same as is
shown in the figure, the following quarter has a turquoise blue
ground, with patterns in red, green and blue. In the last quarter, owing
to the panels of the ground being worked in dark colours, and each
panel in a different colour, the design at first sight appears to be
different from the preceding : the patterns are in varied coloured
On the right side of the baldrick the pattern is in the main that
shown in Fig. 64b, but the upper interspaces between the central
designs vary from those shown in the lower interspaces (Fig. 64b).
The pocket is 310 mm. broad and 220 mm. deep, with a narrow cloth
flap above, which is fastened down with two hooks and eyes in the
middle. A piece of linen lines the bead-work, and, being unattached
at the upper edge, thus forms a double pocket. The detail of the
Catalogue of Musquakie Beadwork. 131
central design of the bead-work is shown in Fig. 643. ; the lateral
designs are the same, but differ in colour. The fringe consists of 18
bands, 85 mm. long by 15 mm. broad, terminating in ribbon tassels of
different colours. The patterns of I and 2 are shown to the left of
Fig. 64d, the triangles in the one case being red and green, and in the
other, light and dark blue. 3 and 4 and u and 12 have the same
pattern, the triangles being red and light blue in 3, dark blue and
132 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
yellow in 4, pink and green in n and 12. 5 and 6 have similar
designs, but in the former the triangles are red and green. 7, 8, 9, 10
are shown in the figure. 13 and 14 have the same design, but in 13
the dark blue triangles are on a white ground. 15, 1 6, 17, 1 8 are
shown in the figure.
" By their tracks we know them " is an Indian saying.
A man may have a coat, shirt, even his silver and beads
from another tribe, but he must wear the shoes of his
own people. The pointed Apache boot, the broad Sioux
slipper with a stitched-on rawhide sole, the Cheyenne shoe
with a tassel at the heel to leave its mark in the dust, the
Shoshone shoe with pointed tongue lying high on the
ankle, the Musquakie shoe with sole and upper in one
piece, are the incontrovertible proofs of origin and affilia
tion, and the man who changes the style of his shoe is the
" turn-coat " despised by all the tribes. A woman married
into another tribe changes her shoes with honour, but a
66. Shaman's Moccasins.
The shape of those worn by other members of the tribe,
but the embroidery is different. The pattern always con
tains some sprawling black and white lines and patches.
Catalogue of Musquakie Beadwork. 133
No one claims that they have any special significance,
nevertheless they always appear. The shaman's wife or
mother is never put to the trouble of making his foot
wear ; it is given him as an additional fee when he cures a
67. Shaman's Horned Bonnet.
This horrible head-dress, made of buffalo horns, strips
of stoat or ermine skin, red flannel, eagle's feathers, and
wild turkey feathers, is in itself a wonder-worker. The
sight of it hanging on a pole is good for minor complaints.
This one is old ; if it were new, it would not have on it
the horns of a buffalo. At best, it would have the horns
of a bull of the wild range-cattle. It might even be horn
less, and so of little power, merely a badge of the profession.
When the shaman dances with a really fine horned bonnet
on, he is irresistible, unless some demon has stolen a
bonnet like it and is dancing in the woods or underground.
68. Shaman's Coat of Painted and Beaded Buckskin.
Worn till he grows so warm in the dance that he has to
throw it off. It is a poor and unhonoured shaman who has
not one or more of these garments, scarce as buckskin has
become, for a coat is the standard for fees as a pony (two
pounds) is a standard for barter. A shaman will say he
will charge a coat, or a half coat, or a quarter, or even a
69. Dancer's Hand Rattle of Hide filled with Stones.
Every dancer adds what he can to the din that keeps
time to the dancing. Above the boom of the great drum
JThe following information was sent by the authoress in a letter to Mr.
"You ask me to name those musical instruments. I can't do it in Indian
very well. They give the English names — the Indians, I mean — and make
the signs for the Musquakie names. Some objects have no name except this
pantomime that can't be put into a catalogue. For a rattle, an Indian, a
Musquakie — or any other Algonquin that ever I saw — makes a swishing
1 34 Folk-Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
and the " yi-yi " of voices which is the red man's equivalent
of singing, is heard a sound like hail falling on water. It
is caused by rattles held in the hands, or bound above the
garters, on the knees of the dancers. This sort is the
favourite because it is the noisiest. It is not considered
sacred or treated with any respect when not in use, but is
stuck in a rift in the wigwam, or left on the floor for the
children to play with. One was found by a visitor among
a litter of puppies.
sound through his teeth and motions as if he were shaking a rattle. If he
wishes you to understand that he refers to a turtle-rattle he gives a sidewise
jerk as if he were rolling off a log into the water. If he refers to a knee-
rattle he gives the sign and then touches his knee. Sometimes ' Ma-see-ka '
is said ; the word means turtle. For a drum, he says, ' Toom-toom ' (not
' tom-tom ') and imitates the pounding with his right hand and arm, generally,
though ' lay-ow-low-see ' is the word for it.
The courting flute is ' way-ne-lo,' but the word is not used. Instead, one
points to a woman or bends his head as if he were a woman with a burden and
with his fingers and lips imitates a flute-player.
The ghost-whistle is ' wah-now-skee-way-ne-lo,' but the word is unlucky and
is not used. The sign is to make rings of your thumbs and fore-fingers and place
them round your eyes to indicate the great hollow eyes of a ghost, then purse up
the lips as if about to whistle, at the same time pointing the index finger of the
right hand from the lips as if it were a whistle, and then the arms are widely
extended and then brought together on the breast as if embracing some one. If
one does this after pointing to a person, thus indicating that the person in
question is a ghost- whistler, a hair- pulling is sure to follow. A man will often
start a fight thus if he wants a lock of hair for a 'soul-protector.' Of course
he runs the risk of losing a lock and being otherwise damaged.
I suppose you would call the turtle from which the rattles are made a
terrapin. That is what it really is, the mud terrapin or tortoise ( Cinostemum
pennsylvanicuni). It must not be confused with the Cinostemum odorattim,
though it too has a musky odour. It is found only in America and we call it
A man paints on his drum a bit of family history— his own or an ancestor's.
He decorates his turtle-rattle as he does his scalp-lock, but he does not
seem to have any superstitious reason for it. He sells the rattle with the
ornaments on it, though nothing but the most profound trust and affection
would induce him to part with his scalp-lock ornaments to his friend.
A calf s hide rattle has on it a bit of ribbon or horse-hair of no significance.
A lover ornaments his flute with some bit of finery he has persuaded his
sweetheart's little brother or sister to steal for him. "
Catalogue of Musquakie Beadwork. 135
70. Dancer's Hand Eattle of Turtle-shell.
This is of great antiquity, and fetish. When not in use
it was not kept in the house of the owner, but in a basket
in the dance-house, beside the great drums. Before taking
it out of the dance-house a blue glass bead (an imitation of
turquoise), or a feather of the golden-winged woodpecker
(Colaptes auratus) was burned in its honour by the shaman.
The bead or feather was dropped on hot embers brought
from the fire outside on which the soup was prepared for
the dancers. It was thrown on as the owner lifted the
rattle from the basket. Before the owner began to dance,
he had the privilege of taking the rattle into his wigwam
for a few moments.
71. Dancer's Knee Rattle of Turtle-shell.
Treated with the same respect as the hand rattle of
turtle-shell. Not rendered fetish by being pow-wowed.
Any dancer may go out and find a turtle, make a rattle of
its shell, place the rattle in a basket, carry it to the dance-
house, and, immediately after, if he chooses to take it out
for a dance, summon the shaman to burn his bead or
72. Dancer's Prayer Drum.
This drum or tambourine is not used in the great
Religion dance. A man takes it with him when he goes
into the forest to pray aloud. He keeps time on it with
his hands as he intones his supplications. He also carries
it in the Corn-Planting dance and sings a song to its
accompaniment as he marches round the field. When not
in use, he hides it in his wigwam.
73. Young Man's Courting Flute.
When a young man has obtained the privilege of paying
his addresses to a girl, he serenades her with this instru
ment, all night, for three or four months.
136 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
74. Whistle to call Ghosts. (Plate VIII., fig. 74.)
This is an instrument accursed. In former times any
man or woman found possessing one was burned at the
stake. Whistling with the lips is dangerous and unlawful,
for it might attract the attention of a wandering ghost, but
whistling with this instrument is a shocking crime. Ac
cording to Musquakie belief, it summons myriads of ghosts
to dance and make bad medicine. If a name is mentioned
directly after the whistling the one who bears it will die
before the year is out. If no name is mentioned, the tribe
will be visited with pestilence and plagues of all sorts.
The possessor of a whistle is sure to be beaten if found out.
The whistle is made of wood and is 175 mm. in length, a leathern
string is tied on to it.
75. Shaman's Medicine Horn. (Plate VIII., fig. 75.)
Every shaman has one or two nicely scraped and
polished horns, which he wears at his belt. The old ones,
like this, are buffalo horns ; the new ones are of the
bulls of the barnyard and range-cattle. Usually, the
horns are kept full of a variety of bitter herbs, from which
on occasion the shaman brews himself nauseous draughts.
When the potions have been prepared in another vessel,
they are poured into the horn and drunk from it. He
takes a hornful before he begins to pow-wow, or prophesy,
dances, or rather, whirls for a few seconds, goes into the
sweat-lodge and pours another hornful on a hot stone,
inhales the fumes and then goes at his work, whatever
it is. The combined effect of the two hornfuls is supposed
to give him great powers of divination and healing. A
plaited loop of black and white horse-hair, which ends in a
long tuft, is attached to the horn.
76. Shaman's Wand. (Plate VIII., fig. 76.)
A power that was. The shaman used to carry it into
battle, where it not only helped the Musquakies to fight,
Catalogue of Musquakie Beadwork. 137
but also raised their dead. The scalp-locks were cut
from the heads of shamans who had assisted their enemies.
The skin in the middle is a bear-scalp, the " medicine "
that brought the dead to life ; as the bear is a great
healer, and his strength is in his scalp.
This specimen consists of a rough stick 980 mm. in length with the
bark on. Near the upper end is a disk, 80 mm. in diameter, covered
on one side with red flannel and edged with white beads ; fastened on
it is a disk of red flannel about 50 mm. in diameter, edged with brown
feathers ; the disk has a dark border and is decorated with an equal-
armed cross of translucent and green beads, at the end of each of the
four arms of the cross is a brass bead. Fastened to the stick below
this are two leather strings, each bearing two white beads and a
Near the centre of the stick is a shield of red flannel, 240 mm. long
and 1 10 mm. broad, it has a rounded upper end, the sides are roughly
parallel to one another, and the lower end is produced into two equal
scallops ; it is bound round with white beads. A semicircular piece
of skin is fastened to the upper portion of the shield, to this
three tassels of coloured ribbons and one brass bead are fastened.
Below the skin is a row of four (originally six) brass beads ; below
this, two rolls of white and red beads ; these are followed by a long
spiral of brass wire ; below this are two rows of blue and white beads,
separated by a row of six brass beads. Each of the four beaded rolls
or bands consists of a central broad band of white beads with two
coloured and two white narrower bands on each side. Below the
lowermost band of beads are six triangles of white beads and six brass
beads, followed by another spiral of brass wire ; in each terminal
scallop are three brass beads. A piece of skin with white fur passes
through and projects beyond the ends of each brass spiral tube. On
each side of the shield is a strip of skin, with white fur bound round
its middle with red flannel, which is bound round with coloured beads ;
below the beads the skin is cut into three narrow strips. Above the
shield are three long tassels of black and dark brown hair the upper
part of each of which is bound round with cloth and beads.
Below the shield is a small disk of leather, 43 mm. in diameter,
bordered with turquoise blue beads. The surface of the disk is
covered with a continuous spiral of beads composed of an outer circle
of dark blue and two concentric circles each of pink and turquoise
blue. There is a central brass bead.
The two disks and the shield are tied on the stick with leathern strings.
138 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
77. Shaman's Pouch, of Mink-skin, with Sacred Feathers.
No account given of this object. It appears to be
fetish, for when the shaman put it on, the squaws con
fessed that they were afraid. He wore it at the great
council, and sold it when the council was over. It had
in it, when he parted with it, nothing but a piece of
otter fur. Everyone was surprised when he parted with
it, as it was very old and had been used many times.
78. Peace-pipe, of Catlinite, with Carved and Twisted Stem.
" Lati-no-way-watch-o-nee-tar" the Musquakies call it,
" the blessed, or beloved, pipe." This one belonged to
the whole tribe, not to a clan. It was smoked by the
head-chief's council and those with whom they had just
concluded a peace. The bowl is catlinite, a red pipe-stone
named after George Catlin, the artist and student of
Indian life. There is but one mine of this stone. It
is in Pipestone County, Minnesota ; and thither all Indians
must resort for the stone from which they manufacture
ceremonial pipes and cups. The stem of this lau-no-way
is of hickory, shaped and twisted by the agency of knives,
fire and water. The wood was soaked till it was pliable,
then twisted by the application of fire in pith. Last of
all, it was smoothed and cut by the knife. The trimming
is not quills but coloured grass, and was the only work
done by a squaw. The pipe was used once by a drunken
chief ; if it had not been, it would not have been sold.
79. Tomahawk or War-Pipe (Etha-way-na-lau-no-way}.
Bowl and stem of catlinite. Used in the ceremony,
" Burying the hatchet," which is now only an historical
drama to illustrate what the tribal historian relates. As
he tells of the burial of the hatchet after a peace was
cemented by a peace-smoke and the interchange of
wampum, the young men take the hatchet-pipe from
his hands and go away as if to bury it. Formerly, it
Catalogue of Musquakie Beadisoork. 139
was buried, to be dug up privately next day, but now
it is merely hidden in the wigwam where it is kept. Once,
the digging up and smoking of the war-hatchet were
impressive ceremonies, but they are now forbidden by
the chiefs. Of old, when the tribe was ready for war
every warrior of the tribe, and every ally, stripped to
the skin, painted himself black, and stood near the war-
chief while he dug up the hatchet, filled it with killikinnick,
and lighted it at the head-chief's council-fire ; and then,
beginning with the head-chief himself, all smoked in turn
and raised the war-cry. While the warriors remained on
the war-path, the war-pipe was kept in the dance-house
watched over by the old men. When the tribe was fleeing
before its enemies, an old man of the chief's council
80. Bow, Arrows, and Quiver.
Used only by the historian, who aims, as he recounts
the deeds of a hero, sometimes at a mark, sometimes
at an animal. The arrows would be more satisfactory
if they were tipped with stone, but the bow could not
be better. It is of bois d'arc, wrapped with deer-sinew
and with a well-twisted sinew-cord. The quiver is of
good buckskin and was the only one left in the tribe.
81. Bow and Arrows.
These, once the property of a famous prophet and
medicine-man, were used in the last battles against the
whites. The shaman claimed that the arrows knew his
voice and the singing of their own bow, and returned
to his hand when he spoke, and fitted themselves to the
cord. The exhibition of them at the council was forbidden
by the chiefs, as it was likely to inflame the minds of
the young men, and cause them to wage disastrous
warfare with their neighbours.
140 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
82. Man's Club.
Used by the historian to illustrate the old manner of
83. Woman's Club.
Used by the women in their societies to illustrate what
was of old a woman's work on the battlefield, which
was to brain the wounded before a retreat, so as to prevent
their being tortured by the enemy, and to break the
limbs of the wounded enemy, if they were victorious.
Sometimes also, they disfigured the dead with clubs as
well as knives, so that if those who scalped them took
them into the spirit-land as slaves, they would have the
additional misfortune to be disfigured there.
84. Whip or Quirt.
Once a ceremonial object. It was used to give the
children the one flogging of their lives to test their
endurance before the puberty feast. Now, floggings are
discontinued, and the whip has gone out of fashion.
85. Woman's Cloth Prayer-mat.
The honourable women, the women who are the
mothers of healthy sons or, failing that, have conferred
some other great benefit on the tribe, are entitled to a
seat on the ground near the council fire, and between
the rows of dancers when a Religion dance is in progress.
Some meekly sit in the dust, but the greater number
make for themselves mats of cloth or grass. A woman
who wishes to be considered exclusive has a small one,
while a matron who courts popularity has one on which
a half-dozen or more of her friends can sit with her.
When one wishes to add her own prayers to those for
which she has paid the shaman, she takes her mat to the
woods, and sits or stands upon it while she entreats the
aid of her totem or the Manito-ah. When her sons and
Catalogiie of Musquakie Beadwork. 141
husband lay wagers on the ball-game or horse-race, they
borrow her cloth mat and use it as a betting blanket,
that is, a cloth on which are piled the sums or objects
86. Woman's Grass Prayer-mat.
This may not be used as a betting blanket ; other
wise, it serves the purposes of its owner, as does the cloth
one. Very few women can weave a close, smooth grass
mat, though many make the attempt when first married,
for a bridegroom's first gift to his bride is the bone
needle, of his own manufacture, which is used to push
the grass in and out of the warp of twine or strips of
the inner bark of the elm. He has no loom for her, he
merely cuts her two poles which she lays on the ground
at a distance apart, which measures the length of her
mat, and to them attaches the ends of her twine or
87. Dancer's Cup.
It is not a dancer's cup, though it is so called ; it is
the cup in which he is given soup while he is dancing.
There are but few of these catlinite cups in the tribe,
and they are owned by old women. As there are not
enough of them to serve every one, only the most
distinguished dancers receive them ; the rest have to
be content with gourds and tin cups. The women
never drink from a dancer's cup.
88. Dancer's Spoon.
The leader of the dance has a right to the choicest
morsels of the meat and vegetables taken from the
bottom of the soup-pot. These morsels are offered in
a wooden bowl, and he helps himself from it with a
wooden spoon which is given him by the old man who
has made it, or had it given to him when he was a
142 Folk-Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
dancer. The older the spoon the more of an honour
it is to receive it. It is an utensil that conduces to
awkwardness ; for, ordinarily, your Musquakie picks up
his meat in his fingers.
89. Dancer's Wooden Bowl.
Used for the meat and vegetables in the bottom of
the soup-pot when the honourable women are feeding the
dancers. Owned by the tribe, manufactured by a man,
taken care of by the honourable women ; it is never used
at a private feast, nor eaten from by a woman.
90. Stone Axe for killing White Dog.
For ordinary work a Musquakie squaw employs the
steel axe of the white man, but for ceremonials the stone
implement of her forefathers must be used. If the dog
of sacrifice were killed by the axe of civilization, the
sacrifice would be wasted or turned against the giver of
it. The dog is struck on the back of the head and the
axe at once put out of sight.
91. Parfleche of Painted Buffalo Hide.
Supposed by the old people to have been sent from
the Manito-ah, at the time of famine, full of buffalo meat.
A young man of exemplary piety was so moved by the
sufferings of his people that he prayed until he fell down
in a swoon. When he recovered consciousness he found
himself in the presence of the Manito-ah and the totems,
who fed him and then sent him back to earth on a great
bird, with the parfleche full of meat in his arms. When
the meat had fed all the tribe, the parfleche was, according
to the instructions given by the totems, set out of doors
and left over night. In the morning all sorts of game
had collected round it, and the hunters killed enough
to last the rest of the winter. For a long time the par
fleche held a dancer's costume, but it was finally sold
by a poor widow who had no sons to care for it.
Catalogue of Musqitakie Beadwork. 143
92. Pestle and Mortar.
These two rough pieces of wood the Indians call a
mill, and with them make the sacred meal. Formerly,
all the meal, whether made from maize, beans, or acorns,
was pounded in this primitive mortar. But, for a long
time, it has been the custom of the Musquakies to buy
flour and meal from the white people for ordinary con
sumption ; so now the mill has become a ceremonial
object, only brought out before a dance feast or funeral
feast to prepare the maize, nuts, and cherries in the
93. Woman's Bone Needle.
A woman's first present from her bridegroom. She
uses it when she makes her grass prayer-mat.
94. Needle-case and Quills.
The needle-case is of buffalo-intestine. The porcupine
quills are both needles and thread to the embroiderer
as she presses them into the buckskin she is adorning.
Quills are scarce, and very few squaws know how to
dye them without spoiling them, and fewer still embroider
with them, nearly everyone preferring beads and ribbons.
95. Pin-case and Thorns.
The squaws as a rule are more ready to adopt new
fashions than the men ; but one old fashion they cling
to, while the men do not — the fashion of using the
thorns of the honey-locust (Gleditschia triacanthos) instead
of the brass pins of civilization.
96. Woman's Loom for Beadwork.
There is nothing remarkable about this simple little
machine, excepting that the holes for the threads are
burned instead of bored or cut. When a squaw is asked
" why," she answers " must be," and not another word
can she be made to say. When her husband does not
144 Folk-Lore of the Musqiiakie Indians.
make one for her, she takes a straight piece of bark
and makes holes in it with a fish bone or needle, and
this seems to keep her threads in place as well as the
other. When asked why she does not burn holes in
the bark, she shakes her head and smiles.
Every Musquakie has an awl which he or she puts
to use as a white neighbour would both awl and needle,
that is, if one used needle and thread separately. But,
more than this, the awl is fetish. It must have a pretty
case, and be kept in it for hours of repose as if it were
a living workman. The woman makes the case, saying
many sing-song prayers as she works at it.
An extremely convenient cradle. When the papoose
is securely fastened into it, he can be borne on his
mother's back as she goes about her daily toil, or he
can be stood up against the wigwam wall, or slung from
the wigwam poles or the branches of a tree for his
mother to rock, by moving a string fastened to her wrist
or foot. Often toys and fetishes are fastened to the
front of it ; and, no matter how simple they are, they
will keep him amiably staring by the hour. The father
and mother both work on the carrier. He makes the
woodwork ; she does what sewing is necessary.
Made of the inner bark of the hickory, and painted
(unfortunately) with the ugly pigments of the white
trader ; the old dyes the squaws extracted from roots
and berries were beautiful. Used by the honourable
women to hold simples.
Sometimes used by squaws.
Catalogue of Musquakie Beadwork. 145
101. Child's Toy Turtle.
Both plaything and fetish.
102. Child's Doll.
Plaything and fetish, or, perhaps, victim. Disease
may be drawn from the child to the doll, as the child
plays with it,
103. Child's Bow and Arrows.
All the little boys, and many of the little girls, are
skilful archers. They use the sharp arrows to kill
rabbits and squirrels ; the blunt one to break the necks
of birds and field-mice.
For a crame similar to la crosse. It is not fetish :
nevertheless fire and water must be employed for its
manufacture. The wood is rendered pliable by being
soaked in running water ; the holes are made by fire.
The ball is a common rubber one bought from the
105. Shaman's Bat.
While the game is in progress a shaman stands at
either end of the ball-ground, each with a very long-
handled bat, which he holds high while he whirls round
and round, praying for the success of his side. The
successful players receive no credit ; it all goes to the
shaman. The shaman whose side loses gets no pay.
The bat is generally a very old one, "handed down"
from its owner's teacher and predecessor. He " makes
medicine" over it, in the sweat-lodge, before each game.
106. Shaman's Prayer-mat of Buffalo-hide.
A poor specimen, but the only one that could be
obtained. The shaman stands on his mat and prays
146 Folk- Lore of the Musquakie Indians.
before and after the Buffalo dance. As he continually
stamps and whirls, he soon wears out a mat ; and as
" buffalo-robes " are scarce and dear, his followers have
trouble in keeping him supplied.
Evidences of a new fashion and a change of opinion
on the part of the Musquakies. A few years ago not
one of them would have dared to have his picture taken,
lest it fall into the hands of an enemy, who, injuring
the picture, would thereby injure the original.
108. Model of Summer Tent.
Very good as to shape, but misleading as to material.
The cone-shaped summer or travelling tent has hickory
poles, and a covering of cowskins sewed together. Its
shape proclaims that it is a temporary convenience, the
permanent wigwam for summer or winter being mound-
109. Divorce Sticks.
When a husband and wife have agreed to disagree
publicly and permanently, they go hand in hand, the
morning after the head-chief's council fire is lighted, to
the members of the council, and the one who first
suggested "parting" asks for a divorce. To the one
asking, a councillor hands from a bundle he keeps ready
for the purpose a dry twig. The one receiving it hands
it to the unsatisfactory mate, who should break it and
drop the fragments on the ground. Occasionally the Old
Adam gets the better of etiquette, and Mr. Musquakie
(it is almost always that the woman applies for the
divorce, few men being willing to give up their minor
children) so far forgets his dignity as to fling the bits
of stick in madam's face. When the stick is broken,
both the man and the woman are free to marry at once,
Catalogue of Musquakie Beadwork. 147
and sometimes do so. No one loses caste by reason of
a divorce, but there is no flute playing, no long courtship
for a divorced woman or a widow. If a divorced man
marries a girl, he must pay his court to her as a bachelor
Or THE 'r
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MUSQUAKIE BE AD WORK
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